US is top source of spam emails

The latest Email Threat Trends report from VIPRE Security Group identifies the US as the top source of spam emails globally, followed by the UK, Ireland, and Japan. The US, UK, and Canada are the top three countries most subjected to email-based attacks.

Looking at targets, the manufacturing, government, and IT sectors are the most attacked by malicious actors. In Q1 2024, the manufacturing sector suffered 43 percent of email-based attacks, with government (15 percent) and IT (11 percent) trailing well behind. This is a change from Q1 2023, when attackers targeted the financial (25 percent), healthcare (22 percent), and education (15 percent) sectors most often.

There's been a notable increase in phishing emails masquerading as communications pretending to be from HR departmants, falsely claiming to relate to employee benefits, compensation, or insurance within a company. These emails contain malicious attachments in .html or .pdf formats, featuring QR codes that redirect recipients to phishing sites when scanned.

In email phishing campaigns, 75 percent of emails employ links, 24 percent favor attachments, and only one percent use QR codes. Attackers are employing links in phishing emails for URL redirection (54 percent), compromised websites (22 percent), and newly created domains (15 percent).

Malware is increasingly being hidden in cloud storage platforms such as Google Drive too. The use of malware-based emails employing attachments has increased to 22 percent in Q1 2024, from only three percent in Q1 2023.

"Criminals are using email with success to scam, infiltrate networks, and unleash malicious payloads," says Usman Choudhary, chief product and technology officer at VIPRE Security Group. "We're witnessing bad actors relentlessly exploiting human vulnerabilities and software flaws, circumventing email gateways and security measures with alarming precision. Robust email and endpoint defenses, coupled with a vigilant human frontline, remain our strongest defense against these unyielding attacks."

You can get the full report from the VIPRE site.

Image credit: SIphotography/

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