– For three months, Panda Security has analyzed in detail the email traffic of 867 companies across 11 different sectors, in 22 countries

Panda Security, The Cloud Security Company, has carried out a study from July to September analyzing in detail the email traffic generated by 867 companies across 11 different sectors in 22 American and European countries. In total, over 503 million messages were analyzed.

The aim of the study was to compare the effects of spam and malware across different business sectors.

According to Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs, “We were curious to see if spam and email-borne malware affected all companies equally, or whether there were factors that influenced the likelihood of them being targeted. We were surprised to find significant differences -up to 12 percent- in the ratio of junk mail received between different business sectors.”

The main conclusion of the study is that the automobile and electrical sectors, followed by governmental institutions, are the top three recipients of spam and email-borne malware with ratios of 99.89%, 99.78% and 99.60%, respectively. This ratio represents the percentage of spam or malicious messages in relation to all email received. Consequently, this means that just 0.11% of mail received by businesses in the motor industry is legitimate; (similarly 0.22% in the electrical sector, and 0.40% in government institutions) (full graph).

Interestingly, the banking sector, imagined by many to be a prime target, features near the bottom of the ranking with a ratio of 92.48%. The education and tourism sectors close the ranking with figures of 87.98%, and 87.22%.

There was, however, no considerable difference in the subject fields of the spam received across the various sectors. The majority, more than 68%, were related to pharmaceutical products. This was followed by adverts for replica products with 18%, and messages with sexual content at 11%.

Banker Trojans were responsible for some 70% of all malware detections. These were followed by adware/spyware, at 22%, with the remainder accounted for by viruses, worms, etc.

To help businesses address the situation, Panda Security has launched the education and training campaign ‘Time for your business’ which looks at the nature of the problem and how it can be resolved.