That's the number of emails sent around the world each second. That amounts to 60 billion daily or 20 trillion annually. This mind-boggling figure was revealed at Berlin during an Internet Security Conference.

A lot of it is actually spam or scam attack. Phishing as well is a growing or rather rocketing threat. 2005 saw three times the amount of phishing attempts as compared to 2004. Furthermore, according to the German Interior minister, phishing has been successful on 5% of all internet users.

I don't know where he got his figures, but this would mean that there are at least 50 million people out there who have been victims of phishing; that's slightly less than the population of the United Kingdom and if each victim lost $100, it would amount to an eye-popping $5 billion heist.

While email is battling with telephone and IM for the title of favourite business communication tool, its importance as a malware medium dwarfs that of the two others. Email remains by far the most vulnerable component of our modern communicating world.

Schemes like Yahoo's and AOL's fee based email services may provide us with a solution to the scam and phishing problems but user education and awareness still remain the most viable and effective way to stem these threats.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.