The spam writers are also carefully tracking their response rates and continuously adjusting the text of the spam emails.
"In one campaign we saw 95 different iterations of their spam messages," he said.
And the spam messages are being increasingly customized to target individual recipients, helping them bypass spam filters.
There was also a 250 percent increase in malvertising last year, Brvenik added.
The criminals use a variety of tactics, including spending actual money to buy their own advertising.
"They buy short-term ads on high-exposure websites, and then they're gone," he said.
The ads -- which carry malicious payloads -- appear on reputable websites, making them very difficult to defend against. Especially for companies with out-of-date browsers.
But while successful attacks are completely aligned with the business models of the criminal organizations, there's no such alignment on the side of the defending team.
"The business goals of a company or organization and the security goals have to be mutually reinforcing," said Stewart.
That's a big gap.
A couple of parts of it, however, are closing, he added.
First, technology buyers are increasingly asking about security when choosing between vendors.
"We think security is now beginning to differentiate offers between competitors," he said.
And, second, security is becoming a more important issue for top-level management.
"The most senior-level part of the company, the board, is now increasingly getting included and asking hard questions about the risks of cyberattacks," Stewart said.
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