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

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards

Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards

Reseller News honoured the standout players of the New Zealand channel in front of more than 500 technology leaders in Auckland on 21 October, recognising the achievements of top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards
Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments