Feeds

Mass web infections spike to 6 million pages

640k sites out to get you

Website security in corporate America

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. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Blood-crazed Microsoft axes Trustworthy Computing Group
Security be not a dirty word, me Satya. But crevice, bigod...
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.