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The Q1 Global Security Report for 2014 released by AppRiver shows that web and email-borne malware threats spiked to record-setting levels in the first three months of this year, and January had the most malware traffic measured since 2008 with about one in every ten emails found to be malicious in nature.

Analysis of more than 14 billion messages found that nearly 10.9 billion were classified as spam and whopping 490 million contained one form of malware or another, with the United States being the top country of origin for spam messages and Europe following at a close second.

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“Some of the bigger stories surrounding email and web threats over the first three months of 2014 include CryptoLocker copy cats, HMRC, IRS and National Institute for Health and Excellence used as covers for several attacks and scams, and the languid botnet Asprox, one of the most active botnets around this year,” the researchers noted.

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“Keep yourself informed and watch out for some of the common flaws that these malware campaigns employ, such as addressing people by their email as opposed to their actual names,” said analyst Fred Touchette.

“Oftentimes generalities are used in the greeting with no names at all. That’s a big red flag, especially when the content appears so personal. If there are any questions as to the legitimacy of any email, contact the supposed sender directly to authenticate.”

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