7685 scam emails blocked per minute: Telstra

7685 scam emails blocked per minute: Telstra

The telco giant says it blocks about 332 million scam emails per month

Credit: Dreamstime

Telco giant Telstra has lifted the lid on the checks it uses to help protect its customers against email, SMS and phone call scams. 

On average, between January and October this year, Telstra Asia Pacific CISO Narelle Devine said the company blocked around 332 million incoming scam and potentially unwanted emails to Bigpond customers per month – over a third (38 per cent) of all inbound emails to Bigpond accounts.

Broken down, this means it blocks more than 11 million scam emails per day, 7685 per minute and 128 per second.

Devine revealed as part of its Cleaner Pipes program, it was detecting and blocking more email, SMS and phone call scams with improved spam and scam filters than ever. 

According to ScamWatch, email is the third most commonly reported mode of attack (33,287 reports) after phone (51,234) and SMS scams (50,947).

“If you’ve ever dug into your email junk folder, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that the pure volume of unwanted emails can be enormous. But what you don’t see is the number of malicious emails blocked before they even reach you,” she said. 

Some of the most common scams Devine said include emails containing malware attachments, invitations to hand over personal details to scammers, and impersonation scams designed to trick into sharing personal or sensitive information (including banking and credit card details).

“As Australians become savvier, email attacks are also becoming more convincing. Recently, more bank scams, fake toll road scams and fake job offer scams are appearing in a bid to lure new victims,” she said. 

Without giving out too much, Devine said it uses a range of systems and checks when it comes to monitoring emails. 

This includes reputation list filters, malicious attachments and link scanning.

“There are also protections in place to ensure legitimate messages still get through, so we don’t block commercial messages from banks and other large businesses, government departments, emergency alerts and Telstra applications,” she said. 

“While we’re confident our filters will continue to protect our customers from millions of unwanted and malicious emails, they aren’t foolproof. Criminals evolve and find new ways to operate scams so we’ve all got to continue to be alert to suspicious messages.”

Earlier this month, Telstra made some adjustments to how it retains customer data to minimise the threat of cyber crime such as reducing the time it holds on customer ID documents from two years to six months. 

“While we will delete the scans, current law requires us to retain the ID data associated with it for longer,” Devine clarified. 

Earlier this month, NSW ranked as the number one state for National Broadband Network impersonation scam losses across the country during the first nine months of the year, totalling roughly $1.6 million. 

This is a 10.6 per cent increase on the same period a year ago, which saw a total of $1.4 million lost to the scam. 

Following NSW was Queensland with $470,191, and Western Australia in third with $254,909. Victoria was knocked off its second-place perch from a year ago, falling to fourth place with $216,234. 

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