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April 15, 2015 - AppRiver, LLC, a leading provider of email messaging and Web security solutions, today released its Q1 Global Security Report, a detailed analysis of web and email-borne threats and malware trends traced between January and March 2015.

Additionally, 2015 has proven quite the busy year for tax scams of all sorts.  Earlier this year, Intuit, the company that owns the very popular tax software/service Turbo Tax, announced that it is shut down state tax filing capabilities due to a recent rash of “suspicious” filings. AppRiver security analysts have seen an increase in the amount of tax-related spam intending to phish users for sensitive data or infect PCs.  AppRiver shares tips to stay safe this tax season in a recent blog post online here.

“We have seen hundreds of variants of tax themed email campaigns attempting to dupe users in the first quarter of 2015,” said Touchette. The majority of these messages either contained malware directly as an attachment or contained a URL leading to a malicious payload. More and more users are now filing electronically and in the eyes of unsuspecting users, an email such as the one pictured below, may look legitimate.”

During the first quarter of 2015, AppRiver quarantined 200 million messages containing viruses in attachments, seeing larger virus spikes in mid-February.  The security vendor also quarantined 5.5 billion spam messages in Q1, about 1.5 billion more than the previous quarter. Spam originating from North America overtook Europe in 2014 and continued to expand its share in Q1 of 2015. North America and Europe are now accounting for seventy eight percent of the spam traffic we see.

In a video available, AppRiver Security Analysts Fred Touchette, Troy Gill and Jon French discuss highlights from the report, including:

  • Events: At the beginning of February, customers of the United States second largest health insurance company, Anthem, were alerted of a breach involving personal data. This data breach ended up involving records of over 80 million customers.
  • POS Malware: The success of the Target breach set the pace for what was to come for POS systems, as they were immediately seen as the go-to target for cyber thieves. Most of them appeared to be a relatively unguarded goldmine through which all store transactions are made. Copycat attacks began and many different versions of POS scraping kits began to show up on underground forums.

“Even though its roots run deeper than it may seem, POS malware is a very active, current trend in the world of cybercrime and the ball is now in our court to fix this gaping hole in security, said Gill. This lies in the hands of the people that create these systems to build security in as well as the merchants that use them in their shops to make sure they are doing everything in their power to keep transactions safe.”

  • Government Cyber Plans: This year President Obama acknowledged cyber threats with the executive orders being signed. One such order that has been signed is aimed at increasing data sharing between government agencies and private companies. More recently, President Obama signed a new executive order giving the United States the ability to place sanctions on suspected cyber criminals

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