A survey by PineApp of 400 medium to large organisations in the UK has found that whilst 97% have anti-spam solutions, half of the respondents complained that they were not dealing effectively with the growing problem of image based spam.
And with image spam now accounting for up to 50% of all spam, this lack of protection poses a serious threat to businesses.
The PineApp survey also highlights two major new problems caused by the inability to cope with image based spam; the burden on bandwidth and storage. This is because a typical image-based spam message is more than three times larger than that of a regular spam message.
In fact, 48% or respondents said bandwidth is a real resource problem while 37% said that the amount of storage taken up by image spam is a major concern.
Other issues included end user frustration (44%), increased exposure to malware (42%), loss of productivity (36%) and legal consequences (32%). What's more, 27% of respondents stated that they found all of these posed a problem, with only 1% claiming that image-based spam presented no problems at all.
Often the content of image spam messages are penny stock 'pump & dump' schemes or other malicious or fraudulent types of spam.
"Embedding or attaching images such as .gif or .bmp files containing unwanted content into email is not new but it has grown fast and our survey shows that it is not being dealt with effectively," says Steve Cornish, UK sales and marketing director at PineApp.
"Meanwhile, with spammers always looking for new ways to bi-pass anti-spam solutions such as attaching PDF files, the industry is struggling to keep up."
Traditional anti-spam technologies such as content-based, Bayesian, Heuristic, URL Filtering are not able to prevent this type of spam on a consistently accurate basis.
PineApp's solution to blocking image based spam is based on its advanced RPDTM (Recurrent Pattern Detection) technology that instantly recognises new outbreaks, regardless of the format. This increases detection rates and maintains low false positives.