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Vulnerabilities / Threats

6/25/2013
03:20 PM
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Google Now Sharing Web Security Data

Search engine giant's transparency report will now include data on numbers of malicious and infected websites, cleanup rates

Google opened a window into the state of Web security today with new data it will now regularly share on malware and phishing sites it detects, warnings it issues users on those sites, and how long it takes compromised sites to clean up.

The search engine giant -- which flags up to 10,000 infected sites a day -- today announced that it will include specific data from its Safe Browsing initiative in a transparency report that will be available online. Perhaps the most telling revelation in the new data: Most malware-ridden sites are legitimate ones.

"What is really scary from their report is the amount of legitimate compromised sites hosting malware compared to sites developed by the bad guys for malicious purposes. For example, in the first week of June/2013, 37,000 legitimate sites were compromised to host malware," blogged Daniel Cid, CTO of Securi Inc. today. "At the same time, they only identified around 4,000 sites that were developed for the unique purpose of infecting people."

Google's Safe Browsing program was launched in 2006, and the company says there are 1 billion users of the program. It detects tens of thousands of malware and phishing sites per week, and issues tens of millions of warnings to users about these sites.

"You can now learn how many people see Safe Browsing warnings each week, where malicious sites are hosted around the world, how quickly websites become reinfected after their owners clean malware from their sites, and other tidbits we've surfaced," said Lucas Ballard, a Google software engineer, in a blog post today announcing the report.

There were 108,225 phishing sites as of June 9, for example, and 366,824 malware-distribution sites as of that date, according to Google's data. And as of that date, 39,247 legit websites had been compromised, and 3,891 malicious websites were built for attacks.

Google also is sharing data on cleanup turnaround rates by website managers: As of mid-March, for example, it typically took about 50 days for sites to remove malware once Google had alerted site managers, and the reinfection rate was at around 0.16.

The new Safe Browsing section of Google's transparency report is here.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" 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

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