Report: 71% of Malware-Related Sites are Legitimate

Dennis Faas's picture

While most malware infections occur when an unsuspecting user clicks onto a dubious web site, a new report suggests that malware infections also occur on legitimate sites.

Websense Security Labs recently released their bi-annual research report which suggests that 71 per cent of known websites containing malware are actually legitimate sites. The report encompasses the second half of 2009.

Hackers Poison Social Search

The report also sheds some light on another growing malware trend: an increased number of searches for the latest news or current buzzwords often leads to malware.

In a recent statement, Websense chief technology officer Dan Hubbard announced, "Malicious hackers are really focusing their efforts to ensure they're driving their victims straight to them. By poisoning search results and focusing on Web 2.0 sites, their efforts are often more efficient and effective." (Source:

Hubbard concluded that "the blended nature of today's threats combined with compromised legitimate sites, takes full advantage of an increased perception of trust when using search engines and interacting with friends or acquaintances online."

Malware Hits Blogs and E-Mails Hard

The report also uncovered that a total of 95 per cent of user generated comments in the last six months on blogs, forums and chat rooms were found to be malicious or spam-related. The report went on to say that an estimated 85 per cent or more of all emails were spam-related. (Source:

Not only are the numbers staggering, but there's no sign that any of these trends will discontinue. Security experts contest that Internet safety is dependent on users monitoring their own Internet activity and approaching with caution when opening suspicious emails or suggested web links.

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