The widespread use of email has provided hackers and crackers with an easy way to distribute harmful content to the internal network. Hackers can easily circumvent the protection offered by a firewall by tunneling through the email protocol, since it does not analyze email content.
CNN reported in January 2004 that the MyDoom virus cost companies about US$250 million in lost productivity and tech support expenses, while NetworkWorld (September 2003) cited studies that placed the cost of fighting Blaster, SoBig.F, Wechia and other email viruses at US$3.5 billion for US companies alone.
Furthermore, email is also used to install trojans, targeted specifically at your organization to obtain confidential information or gain control of your servers. Described as "instructive viruses" or "spy viruses" by computer security experts, these can be potent tools in industrial espionage.