12:31 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell

Websense Warns: Legit Sites Top Hack Targets

Another midyear security overview is out now, this one from Websense, and if the year-to-date is looking bad, the six months to come are looking worse.

Another midyear security overview is out now, this one from Websense, and if the year-to-date is looking bad, the six months to come are looking worse.The Websense Security Labs report warns that in the first two quarters of 2008, three-quarters of all sites containing malware code are otherwise legitimate sites.

That's a whopping 50 percent jump over the last six months of 2007.

It gets worse -- not surprisingly, the bad guys are targeting the most frequently visited sites. According to Websense, 60 percent of the Internet's top sites carried malware.

No surprise either that search sites and social networking sites are prime risks: 90 percent of those top 100 sites either offer search or networking.

Reason for the rise? You. Me. Us. The more able we are to upload content, the likelier that some of us are going to uploading unwanted, malicious content along with whatever we feel it's important to post.

As social networking, blogging and other forms of posting become more important-- or become perceived as more important -- to our businesses, the situation is going to worsen. Add the Olympics, the presidential election and other high-profile events with a larger than ever Web presence that's more "participatory" than ever, and the worsening becomes, well, even worse. I'm betting that when the reports on the second half of 2008 come out we'll see another 50 percent increase. At least.

Which raises some large questions for small and midsize businesses. How much unfettered (and usually unfiltered)access do you allow your employees to the Internet? How many of your employees are uploading content as well as downloading it? How much of any of this has much of anything to do with how you do your business?

Answer those and you'll at least have a starting point for dealing with security issues that are likely to get a lot worse before they get a little better.

The complete Websense Q1-Q2 State of Internet Security can be downloaded here. Get it, read it and don't be shy about passing it along.

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