No one likes spam, but at one time it was just a minor annoyance. The first spam email was sent in 1978, and it was so wildly unpopular it took a decade for a second spam email to be sent. The first unsolicited mass marketing email came nearly a decade after that in 1994, but an anti-spam program that verified users didn’t come along until 2005, and by then spam had already evolved into something much more sinister: phishing emails.
Email was not initially built to be secure, because as with most technological advancements the creators didn’t think it would ever be used in such a way that security would be an issue. To the creators, it was little more than an electronic way to send someone a memo across the office and later across a network, and the idea that people would be using it for personal reasons outside of the office was not really a consideration.
As computers and email became more commonplace, efforts to exploit them grew. With every technological advance came multiple attacks. When people began using text messaging SMS attacks became rampant. No matter the technological advances, someone somewhere is looking for a way to exploit it.
There have been major advances in fighting both spam and phishing, though. Artificial intelligence algorithms have made great strides in preventing most of these messages never make it into your inbox. But still, there are 4.7 billion phishing emails sent every day, and last year the FBI investigated 50,000 reports of phishing totaling more than $1.8 billion – it’s not getting better any time soon.
No matter how careful you are, you still need protection from phishing as hackers are constantly trying new tactics to take advantage of vulnerabilities. Learn more about the history and future of phishing below!