How many business emails do the recipients actually want? Or, conversely, how many of them are unwanted? A study by Hornetsecurity looked at this question (along with a number of other security issues) and reached a conclusion that, on reflection, most people with a business email account would probably say is consistent with their own experience: some 40.5% of emails that arrive are ones the recipients don’t really want in the first place.

Hornetsecurity’s CEO, Daniel Hofmann, said, in conjunction with the release of the company’s Cyber Security Report 2023, “This year’s cyber security report shows the steady creep of threats into inboxes around the world. The rise in unwanted emails, now found to be nearly 41%, is putting email users and businesses at significant risk.” He added, “What’s more, our analysis identified both the enduring risk and changing landscape of ransomware attacks – highlighting the need for businesses and their employees to be more vigilant than ever.”

The risk emails present, of course, is that of phishing. The sheer volume of unwanted, unexpected emails can not only take advantage of the trust people repose in their business systems, but quantity can have a quality all its own. The more attempts, the more likely it is that some user will fall for one of them in a moment of weakness, gullibility, or an otherwise commendable inclination to help, to cooperate.

Phishing remains a perennial threat, and as criminals and nation-states improve their craft and deploy more convincing come-ons and spoofs, the unwary will continue to be caught. New-school security awareness training can equip employees with the knowledge and skills they need to resist this form of social engineering.