MSPmentor Blog
Security Analysts Weigh in on 2016 IT Threat Landscape and Offer Five Tips

Security Analysts Weigh in on 2016 IT Threat Landscape and Offer Five Tips

It's hard to comprehend: 944 million malicious messages in one year. At least, that’s what our team of security analysts thought until we filtered 705 million malicious messages in one month alone. As noted in our 2015 Global Security Report, AppRiver’s servers filtered 1.7 billion malicious messages and 26 billion messages containing spam that were targeted at the companies we protect.

While our team of experts closely monitors several threat intelligence feeds for spam and malware trends, they also closely monitor trends in IT security, like data breaches and cybersecurity legislation. Based off of this intelligence, the most common prominent trends of 2015 included:

  • Attacks: Macros, ransomware, wire transfer fraud and JavaScript obfuscation constituted some of the most prevalent attacks on consumers and businesses in 2015. These attacks often came directly to individuals’ inboxes through spear phishing and spoofing attempts. The report also devotes special video segments focused on macros, malware attacks, wire transfer fraud and ransomware.
  • Data breaches: Anthem, Premera, LastPass, Ashley Madison, Experian and the Office of Personnel Management were some of the biggest breaches of 2015. The OPM data breach resulted in more than 18 million current and former federal employees’ records being breached, while the insurance company breaches resulted in more than 90 million patients’ health records being compromised.

Based on the IT security trends of 2015, both those that became fashionable and those that are now obsolete, AppRiver's security analysts predict the following for 2016:

  • Evolving ransomware: Following the FBI’s recent recommendation that file-encrypting ransomware victims pay the ransom instead of trying to negotiate their files back, hackers will continue to innovate new attacks that push the mark.
  • The Internet of things (IOT): With wearable tech, mobile devices and payment portals all syncing together, one breach gains entry to considerable amounts of data. When vulnerabilities exist in any popular OS, and hackers know about them, it is only a matter of time before they are exploited.
  • Bring your own device (BYOD): While it saves costs, allows employees the flexibility to work from anywhere and to choose their own devices, BYOD makes security policies, such as updates and patches, cumbersome to implement and nearly impossible to enforce since the security rests in employee hands. With these combined factors, attacks targeted at businesses through their employees’ personal devices is likely to increase.

If you’re worried about keeping your network safe in the face of these trends, AppRiver’s security analysts recommend the following tips:

  1. Routine software and hardware updates often contain security patches to ward off present malware vulnerabilities.
  2. Daily file backups can eliminate the need for an organization to pay a ransom if it falls victim to ransomware.
  3. Strong passwords combined with double authentication reduces a hacker’s odds of being able to correctly guess the answers.
  4. Redundant IT security, including email and Web protection, creates multiple blockades for hackers. An employee cannot accidentally infect his company’s network with malware by opening a rogue attachment if it was never delivered to his inbox.
  5. Public Wi-Fi networks should be avoided if possible, as hackers often take advantage of the “shared network” and use it to steal information off of individuals’ devices.

For more information on AppRiver’s 2015 Global Security Report--including interviews with the experts, in-depth analysis, and metrics by region and volume--please visit:

To read AppRiver’s security analysts full predictions for 2016, please visit

Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.