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Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Area 1 Security, a California-based anti-phishing cybersecurity firm, announced Tuesday it is introducing a "pay-per-phish" model under which customers only pay when Area 1 actually foils a phishing attempt. Each caught phish — a seemingly innocuous email that contains malicious software or attachments — will cost the customer $10.

The big picture: This year, global spending on cybersecurity products is expected to reach $114 billion, a 12.4% increase over last year, per Gartner, but companies are not seeing results from their investment. The pay-per-phish model tries to change the security market's incentives by structuring rates around outcomes.

Why it matters: Area 1 CEO Oren Falkowitz tells Axios he fears companies frustrated by security programs with high price tags and poor results could simply drop their guard, degrading collective security.

Driving the market: Many cybersecurity solutions charge blanket fees for protection even if they can't guarantee a better cybersecurity posture. Area 1's bet is that their model will encourage constant product improvement and increase its customers' confidence.

What's next: It remains to be seen if this business model is sustainable and whether other companies will follow suit.

By the numbers:

  • There were 264,483 email phishing attempts in the second quarter of this year reported to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, compared with 53,081 reported to the group just 5 years ago.
  • The $10 charge is per individual email that Area 1 manages to quarantine before it lands in a user's inbox.
  • But there's a limit to the payout: If one company is hit with a wave of phishing attempts that Area 1 successfully blocks, $10 per phish might become prohibitively expensive. As a result, Area 1 has placed a cap on payouts, Falkowitz says. This could make a difference in a worst case scenario.

Go deeper

17 mins ago - World

U.S. will give Russians written response to NATO demands, Blinken says

Blinken and Lavrov shake hands in Geneva. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed after a meeting with his Russian counterpart on Friday that the U.S. will provide written answers to Russia's security demands next week.

Why it matters: Russia claims to be waiting for "concrete answers" to its demands that NATO rule out further expansion and roll back its presence in eastern Europe before deciding its next steps on Ukraine. But the U.S. and NATO have called those proposals "non-starters," and Friday's meeting offered no breakthroughs, so it's unclear how written answers might change the equation.

More surprises await scientists at Antarctica's "Doomsday Glacier"

Cliffs along the edge of the Thwaites Ice Shelf in West Antarctica. Photo: James Yungel/NASA

Researchers like David Holland, an atmospheric scientist at New York University, are in a race to understand the fate of a massive glacier in West Antarctica that has earned a disquieting nickname: "The Doomsday Glacier."

Why it matters: Studies show the Thwaites Glacier (its official name) could already be on an irreversible course to melt during the next several decades to centuries, freeing up enough inland ice to raise global sea levels by at least several feet.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.