Feeds

Mass web infections spike to 6 million pages

640k sites out to get you

Seven Steps to Software Security

An estimated 5.8 million pages belonging to 640,000 websites were infected with code designed to launch malware attacks on visitors, according to a report released Tuesday.

The numbers, compiled over the third quarter by security firm Dasient, represent a significant jump in number of legitimate websites that have been compromised. According to numbers Microsoft released on April, some 3 million pages were infected. The number of sites blocked by Google more than doubled between December and August, to almost 350,000.

"The bad guys are significantly taking advantage of attacking servers so they can distribute their malware to a very, very large number of clients," said Dasient co-founder Ameet Ranadive. "A lot of these infections are complex and often pretty obfuscated, so it's difficult for experienced webmasters to figure out what parts of their site have been infected and then to remediate it."

To understand just how hard it is for webmasters to clean up the mess, consider this: In the third quarter, 39.6 percent of compromised sites had been reinfected after trying earlier to clean up the malware. Criminals are often able to attack a site repeatedly because webmasters fail to change passwords or patch vulnerable web applications that led to the initial exploit.

Eleven days ago, ScanSafe, a separate security firm that announced Tuesday it is being acquired by Cisco, reported that more than 2,000 websites were compromised by a mass web infection known as Gumblar. Many of those sites were likely hit in earlier waves and simply reinfected, a ScanSafe researcher said at the time.

An estimated 54.8 percent of the attacks observed by Dasient involved malicious javascript that was injected into compromised sites. iFrames that silently redirected users to malicious sites came in second at 37.1. Dasient has cataloged more than 72,000 unique malware infections involving websites.

The attacks are growing in popularity because they allow criminals to reach large numbers of victims with a minimum amount of effort. For end users who fail to install the latest versions of Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash and other software on their machines, the attacks often result in a "browse and get compromised" scenario, in which their systems are surreptitiously infected simply by visiting the site.

"Hackers are starting to see some success from these attacks and whenever they see success, they continue to invest more," Ranadive said. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.