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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

Website Attack Attempts Rose by 69% in 2018

Millions of websites have been compromised, but the most likely malware isn't cyptomining: it's quietly stealing files and redirecting traffic, a new Sitelock report shows.

Websites suffer an average of 62 serious attack threats per day -- an average of 376 million per day, according to a new study of more than 6 million websites worldwide.

"Even though the numbers seems a little small, 62 attacks is still a pretty big number," says Monique Becenti, product and channel marketing specialist at SiteLock, which published the study in a report today.

Those attacks weren't concentrated in ransomware and cryptomining malware, but in such "classic" techniques as backdoors, shells, and JavaScript files. The JavaScript attacks are notable because they tend not to directly attack the website, but to hijack visitor traffic and send them to alternate, illegitimate destinations.

The report points out both the type of stealth attack seen in 2018 and the risk factors for compromise, factors that boil down to site complexity, site popularity, and site composition, or the software or CMS used to build the site.

According to the report, sites built with one of the three leading CMS platforms — Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress — are from 1.6 to 2.2 time more likely to be infected with malware than the average site. The issue, though, is not as simple as a problem with vulnerable CMS platforms, according to Becenti.

"Core files are starting to update a lot faster, as far as checking the security vulnerabilities," she says of the major CMS platforms. "However, one of the primary culprits I feel we have to be worried about are plug-ins and schemes."

Becenti notes that the three major CMS platforms are much more diligent than they once were about patching vulnerabilities and sending updates in a timely fashion. The hundreds or thousands of third-party plug-ins that add functionality to the core platforms, though, are where many vulnerabilities are introduced — and where many of those vulnerabilities remain for months or years without being patched.

"Website attack attempts per day grew by 59% from January 2018 to December 2018," according to the report.

In terms of the total number of sites surveyed, the report says that approximately 1% of all sites are infected with malware at any given time — making roughly 17.6 million websites worldwide struggling with an infection every day. And of those infected sites, 50% had at least one backdoor, 48% had at least one shell script, 47% had at least one file-hacker, and 46% had at least one malicious evaluation request.

And SiteLock said cryptomining malware was found on just 2% of infected sites.

Related Content:

 

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
Tor Weaponized to Steal Bitcoin
Dark Reading Staff 10/18/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18218
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
cdf_read_property_info in cdf.c in file through 5.37 does not restrict the number of CDF_VECTOR elements, which allows a heap-based buffer overflow (4-byte out-of-bounds write).
CVE-2019-18217
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
ProFTPD before 1.3.6b and 1.3.7rc before 1.3.7rc2 allows remote unauthenticated denial-of-service due to incorrect handling of overly long commands because main.c in a child process enters an infinite loop.
CVE-2019-16862
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
Reflected XSS in interface/forms/eye_mag/view.php in OpenEMR 5.x before 5.0.2.1 allows a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of a user's session via the pid parameter.
CVE-2019-17409
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
Reflected XSS exists in interface/forms/eye_mag/view.php in OpenEMR 5.x before 5.0.2.1 ia the id parameter.
CVE-2019-10715
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
There is Stored XSS in Verodin Director before 3.5.4.0 via input fields of certain tooltips, and on the Tags, Sequences, and Actors pages.