At this age, practically everyone is aware that it is risky to open suspicious emails from unknown senders. However, it is interesting to know that there are still some people who would open such emails despite persistent warnings from the expert. This could be a cause for alarm.
A poll of email users conducted by TNS Global found that three out of 10 people would still open an email even if they think it is suspicious. The study involved 1,000 adults scattered across the US during the research period. The poll was commissioned by Halon, an email security service. 30% of those respondents admitted to such a practice.
Of those, 1 in every 11 individuals infected their PC systems following the opening of malicious email attachments. This is quite interesting as it is now a given fact that computer viruses are easily spread online through email attachments. Through that scheme, attackers obtain access to any network via phishing or spear phishing.
More details about findings
Other findings of the survey could be more interesting. The study found that women are usually tempted by email messages with headlines that indicate invitations from social networking sites. Men are more tempted to email messages claiming to be about enjoying power, money, and sex.
About 16% of malicious email messages claim to come from banks. Around 15.2% claim to have come from Twitter or Facebook. Meanwhile, about 12.8% of the malicious emails that are more likely to be opened by recipients are disguised as updates from online payment services such as PayPal.
The Anti-Phishing Working Group has found that there were about 74,000 phishing messages and campaigns sent through emails during the study period, or during the first quarter of this year. Those attacks reportedly targeted over 1,100 brands that leverage about 110,000 compromised domains.
High success rate for attackers
The findings of the study suggest that attackers may enjoy a 30% rate of success whenever they launch malicious emails. Often, an entire PC network is compromised when just a single user is convinced to click on malicious email attachments.
According to some analysts, this study suggests that the risk of malicious emails being opened could possibly affect more people and businesses. They warn online users to be more aware and discerning when opening email messages and clicking on attachments.