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Risk

9/29/2010
12:27 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Google To Warn Admins Of Malware Infestations

It's been made very clear that one of the greatest threats to Web safety is reputable Web sites getting nailed with malware - and their web masters don't even know it. That malware then infects users - who also go unaware that they've been pwned. This week, Google is taking steps to try to turn that tide.

It's been made very clear that one of the greatest threats to Web safety is reputable Web sites getting nailed with malware - and their web masters don't even know it. That malware then infects users - who also go unaware that they've been pwned. This week, Google is taking steps to try to turn that tide.If you're not sold on the fact that the Web is a cesspool of malware, take a look the Mathew J. Schwartz story Malware Targeting Top News Sites, Message Boards:

Malware is all around. Indeed, according to research from information security firm Websense, "no matter how careful you are, today's Internet user is only two short clicks away from malicious content and an infected computer or network," at least for the Internet's top 1,000 websites. That "two degrees of malware separation" applies to 70% of top news sites, 70% of leading message boards, and 50% of social networking sites.

In its new research into malware trends, Websense identified the top three paths that lead to malware as: websites, poisoned search results, and malicious links, the latter typically spread by spam emails and phishing campaigns.

Most of the really nasty malware isn't just delivered by e-mail or the sharing of thumb drives, rather it's spread ubiquitously around the Web. And fact is that most Web site operators have no idea they are serving all of this scourge.

Hopefully, Google's new service, Safe Browsing Alerts for Network Administrators, will bring some awareness where it is woefully needed most: the infected companies.

Today, we're happy to announce Google Safe Browsing Alerts for Network Administrators -- an experimental tool which allows Autonomous System (AS) owners to receive early notifications for malicious content found on their networks. A single network or ISP can host hundreds or thousands of different websites. Although network administrators may not be responsible for running the websites themselves, they have an interest in the quality of the content being hosted on their networks. We're hoping that with this additional level of information, administrators can help make the Internet safer by working with webmasters to remove malicious content and fix security vulnerabilities.

It's a great idea. And it can't hurt to try. So consider giving it a shot at safebrowsingalerts.googlelabs.com.

If you do try the service, I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts about it. You can reach me at the e-mail by clicking on my byline above, or on Twitter.

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