theDocumentId => 1134441 You're Always Just Two Clicks Away From Malware

Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


11:32 AM
Connect Directly

You're Always Just Two Clicks Away From Malware

New study shows correlation between top 1,000 visited websites and proximity to malware

A new study has found that users visiting the top 1,000 websites are typically no more than two clicks away from malicious content.

Websense discovered three main paths to malware: Aside from the top websites, there are poisoned search results and malicious links. Among the top 1,000 sites typically at least two mouse clicks away from malware are 72 percent of the top news and media sites; 71 percent of the top message boards and forums; and more than half of all social networking sites, according to the study.

"This suggests a high degree of correlation between the most highly visited websites and malware," says Charles Renert, senior security research director for Websense.

Renert says Websense wasn't sure this was the case when the company began the research. "We went in with open eyes," he says. And interestingly, the proportion of malicious links associated with top news sites, like CNN, were higher than that of traditionally risky sites, such as online gambling or pornography.

"We had a higher hit of malicious content from buzz pop-search terms than from objectionable ones," Renert says. For example, one-fourth of all results from the search term "World Cup 2012" were malicious, according to the report.

That means the bad guys are keeping pace with trending topics and popular websites, he says. And they are able to shift their targets rapidly based on these trends. "That shows there's been a tremendous infrastructure built by the bad guys to go find out what's popular," Renert says.

Websense found that about 40 percent of all Facebook status posts include URLs, and 10 percent of those links host malware or spam. So 10 percent of hundreds of millions of updates each day represents the kind of spam volume circulating on Facebook, Renert says.

Of those websites that harbor malicious links (versus malicious content), 62 percent that link to games also link to objectionable or harmful content; 22 percent of adult or sex-related sites link to malicious ones; 23 percent of blogs link to objectionable or harmful content; and 23 percent of message boards and 21 percent of freeware sites.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-23
PJSIP is a free and open source multimedia communication library written in C language implementing standard based protocols such as SIP, SDP, RTP, STUN, TURN, and ICE. In PJSIP before version 2.11.1, there are a couple of issues found in the SSL socket. First, a race condition between callback and ...
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-23
Contour is a Kubernetes ingress controller using Envoy proxy. In Contour before version 1.17.1 a specially crafted ExternalName type Service may be used to access Envoy's admin interface, which Contour normally prevents from access outside the Envoy container. This can be used to shut down Envoy rem...
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-23
An issue in Jumpserver 2.6.2 and below allows attackers to create a connection token through an API which does not have access control and use it to access sensitive assets.
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-23
Incorrect Access Control in Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co. KG CX9020 with firmware version CX9020_CB3011_WEC7_HPS_v602_TC31_B4016.6 allows remote attackers to bypass authentication via the "CE Remote Display Tool" as it does not close the incoming connection on the Windows CE side if t...
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-23
A code injection vulnerability in backup/plugin.php of Bludit 3.13.1 allows attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted ZIP file.