Spam drops below 50 percent of email for the first time since 2003

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For the first time in more than a decade the amount of spam has fallen to less than 50 percent of the total volume of email.

According to the latest Symantec Intelligence Report, the overall spam rate has dropped to 49.7 percent, the first time a figure this low has been recorded since September 2003.

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Phishing rates and email-based malware were also down this month. It's not all good news though as there were 57.6 million new malware variants created in June, up from 44.5 million pieces of malware created in May and 29.2 million in April. This increase in activity suggests that, with the continued drops in email-based malicious activity, attackers are simply moving to other areas of the threat landscape.

Ransomware attacks were up in June too, with over 477,000 detected during the month. While still below the levels seen at the end of 2014, this is the second month in a row that ransomware attacks have increased since they reached a 12-month low in April.

Targeted attacks on the manufacturing sector fell from 41 percent in May to 22 percent. Manufacturing still comes out on top in terms of sectors being subjected to targeted attacks, but the activity is now in line with what is being seen in the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate sector and the Services -- Professional sector, which come in at second and third place. It's interesting too that 38.1 percent of attacks were directed against companies with fewer than 250 employees.

On social media 83 percent of threats relied on users to spread them by sharing videos, offers and other messages. 11 percent tried to get users to join fake groups in order to expose their details to hackers, five percent used 'likejacking' to get users to click fake website buttons that install malware and may post updates on a user's newsfeed.

More detail is available in the full report which is available to download from the Symantec website.

Photo Credit: Balefire/Shutterstock

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