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3 billion phishing emails every day

Graphic representing the percentage of people clicking on a phishing email subdivided by industry sector. Image credit: Terranova Security

I get hundreds of emails every day, about 10% end up in the spam. A few of those that I get in my inbox should have gone to the spam as well.

I had the feeling of being somehow “special”, a specific target of phishing and the like. It turns out that’s not the case. I saw the statistics published by Terranova Security in their Phishing Benchmark Global Report, December 2021, where they estimate in 3 billion the phishing emails that are sent every single day: 3 billion!

As shown in the graphic, the report is also looking at the “success rate” of those phishing emails and I was surprised to see how many people “click” on a phishing email (obviously not suspecting it is a phishing!). The top three in terms of clicks on those malicious email are in the area of education, finance&insurance and (really strange) information technology. The average of clicks across all sectors is close to 20%, that is one in five phishing emails gets clicked! These data have been gathered from the Terranova Security platform, there are many others so it might not provide an accurate representation of the global landscape.

Phishing keeps increasing in volume and impact. According to a study of the Ponemon Institute, released in August 2021, the cost of phishing to companies in the US has grown from 3.8 M$ in 2015 to 14.8 M$ in 2020. An average company with 10,000 employees loses over 65,000 hours a year as direct consequence of phishing attacks.

Impressive figures, and it can only get worse!

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.