Menu
Poisoned web sites soar six-fold

Poisoned web sites soar six-fold

The number of infected web pages has soared nearly six-fold since the first of the year, according to security company Sophos.

Detailed in a just-released threat report, the spike shows just how widespread web attacks have become, Sophos said on Wednesday. In June, it detected an average of almost 30,000 newly-infected pages each day. Earlier in the year, the tally was as low as only 5000 new pages daily.

The vast majority of pages serving up malicious content are, in fact, hosted on legitimate web sites, Sophos also said. About 80 percent of all web-based malware is on innocent, albeit compromised, sites.

A recent example: The June attacks launched from a collection of more than 10,000 legitimate web sites, the bulk of them hosted on Italian servers. The servers were compromised using an unknown vulnerability, then loaded with Mpack, a multiple-exploit toolkit hackers deploy to hijack PCs visiting those sites.

"It begs the question as to why web hosts are not taking the necessary steps to properly secure their servers," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, in a statement. "Simple measures such as keeping up to date with security patches will go a long way towards thwarting this problem; the fewer holes in server setups, the lower the risk of infection.

"Hosts not behaving responsibly must bite the bullet and take better care of their sites."

Just over half -- 51 percent -- of the infected sites are on servers powered by Apache, the open-source web server software, Sophos reported. Microsoft's IIS (Internet Information Services) Web server, meanwhile, accounted for 34 percent of compromised or malicious systems. Both numbers are in line with web server market share, according to the UK-based internet measuring company Netcraft. Its figures put Apache at 50 percent of all servers, IIS at 35.5 percent.

"Malware is not just a Microsoft problem," Cluley said.

The Italian incident, he continued, is a textbook example of a threat that targets and exploits all kinds of vulnerable sites, not just the usual suspects. "Web security solutions must go beyond blocking sites based simply on category. A gambling site may seem more of a threat, but sometimes the most innocuous sounding site can pose the greatest danger."

Sophos' threat report is available online.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags sophos

Featured

Slideshows

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

New Zealanders kick-started EDGE 2018 with a bout of Super Rugby before a dedicated New Zealand session, in front of more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors on Hamilton Island.‚Äč

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session
EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018 kicked off with a dedicated New Zealand track, highlighting the key customer priorities across the local market, in association with Dell EMC. Delivered through EDGE Research - leveraging Kiwi data through Tech Research Asia - more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors combined during an interactive session to assess the changing spending patterns of the end-user and the subsequent impact to the channel.

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research
Show Comments