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80% of Websites With Malware Are Legit

Sophos has published new research on the first six months of cybercrime in 2007

BOSTON -- Sophos, a world leader in IT security and control, has published new research on the first six months of cybercrime in 2007. The Sophos Security Threat Report examines existing and emerging security trends and has identified a sharp increase in the number of web threats, as well as the countries and server types hosting the most infected sites.

The first half of 2007 has seen a significant increase in threats spread via the web, which has surpassed email as the preferred method of attack for financially motivated cybercriminals. In June alone, Sophos's global network of monitoring stations uncovered a record number of infected web pages - approximately 29,700 - each day. In contrast, earlier in 2007, only as few as 5,000 malicious pages per day were detected.

Sophos blocks access to millions of web pages to protect customers from malware and inappropriate content. Taking a snapshot of just one million of those web pages, experts found that 28.8 percent were hosting malware. An additional 28 percent were blocked due to the adult nature of their content, most commonly because they were pornography or gambling sites. Pages created by spammers accounted for 19.4 percent and 4.3 percent were classed as illegal sites, including phishing sites or those peddling pirated software. Of the websites containing malicious code, just one in five had been designed specifically for malicious activity, with the remaining 80 percent made up of legitimate sites that have fallen victim to hackers.

APACHE IS THE MOST COMPROMISED SERVER

By compromising a single file on a web server, cybercriminals can easily and quickly cross-contaminate a huge number of websites, as the infected file may form part of a plethora of unrelated pages, all of which are published from the same server.

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