Email Security: keep on running!

It’s the sort of race that appears to chase a point that is constantly moving with the horizon.

There is a race being run right now, a race that never ends, where the participants can’t stop for a breather, one of those races you keenly enter, but halfway through ask yourself why am I doing this again?

Running into the sunset

Enough of the race & horizon metaphor...

What I’m talking about is the constant cat and mouse game that we all play with the spammers, phishers, virus writer and general internet nasties. Almost every user who is exposed to the Internet understands the sort of problems that exist. Email administrators in particular have the tricky job of protecting their users and are best placed to understand the problem. But, keeping up with the ever changing threat landscape is a constant balance and battle, and takes dedication if you’re prepared to fight that fight yourself.

Research tells us that senders of malicious email, (by which I mean spam, virus, phishing and all the other junk out there) are trying to get each individual piece of malicious email into your inbox within 11 minutes of the time they release it to the wild. If it takes longer, they move on. Why is this? Because within those 11 minutes the security vendors of the world have detected the new threat and have started to issue updates to protect their client base against it.

As with most things the early bird does indeed get the worm, or in this case your inbox gets the worm (or spam, or phishing attack).

Many on-site security appliances and software solutions have these updates pushed down to them by their respective vendors, which is a great idea but strikes me as a little too slow. If this is all about speed, we really need to be thinking about the fastest and most efficient way of keeping up.

If I were a spammer...

...or virus writer, I would be depending on, and even taking advantage of, the slow reaction of you or your security vendor, I would be hoping that someone somewhere isn’t as alert as perhaps they should be.

Of course in my new dark world of spamming, phishing and viruses, the nature of my business is speed and money. The faster I am the more money I make. I will be praying on people who don’t think like this, people who are slower than I am.