7 in 10 Brits do not know opening an email could lead to a cyber attack


A survey has exposed the naïve attitude of British people to computer safety, with seven in ten not seeing emails as a treat to security.

The research, by email provider Mailjet, found that over two thirds (69%) of Brits are unaware of the fact that simply opening an email could expose a computer to a cyber attack.

Almost half (49%) of respondents admitted to opening an email at work that was personal or non-work related.

When it comes to email content, it seems many Brits abandon their basic understanding of email safety when it comes to risky or popular culture.

>See also: 5 tips for keeping corporate email secure

Almost two in ten (18%) respondents said they’d open an email with a swear word in the subject line, whilst 10% admitted to opening an email that explicitly mentions containing nudity. Similarly, 19% had knowingly opened an email that contains images of a beautiful woman or man.

The research also revealed people’s preference for celebrity culture, with more workers admitting to opening an email with Kim Kardashian in the subject line than Kate Middleton.

“It may sound simple, but the general lack of education surrounding emails is one of the biggest threats to cyber security,” said Mailjet’s Amir Jirbandey. “The Sony attack last year emphasised just how dangerous email hacking can be and highlighted to organisations that more advanced and specific attacks are likely going to be used to target weaknesses in IT infrastructure.

“The fact that almost 70% of us do not see emails as a threat to computer security is staggering, and what this research has emphasised is the need for both consumers and businesses to sit up and understand the need to prioritise basic email safety.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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