Feeds

Regular domains beat smut sites at hosting malware

99 to 1, study finds

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

New research pours scorn on the comforting but erroneous belief that Windows surfers who avoid smut and wares on the web are likely to avoid exposure to malware.

A study by free anti-virus firm Avast found 99 infected legitimate domains for every infected adult web site. In the UK, Avast found that more infected domains contained the word "London" (such as the blog section of http://kensington-london-hotels.co.uk) than the word "sex". Among the domains labelled as infected by Avast was the smart phones section of the Vodafone UK website. The mobile phone operator's site contained a malicious JavaScript redirect script that attempted to take advantage of an unpatched Windows Help and Support Centre flaw (CVE-2010-1885) to infect the machines of visiting surfers.

HTML files from sub-domain blackberry.vodafone.co.uk still contain malicious code at the time of writing but point to a site containing the attack payload site that has been pulled offline.

"Users browsing Vodafone domain should be safe - until new hack/updated hack will be performed," Avast researcher Miloslav Korenko told The Reg. "This may happen in the same way as the first hack.

"Of course, the Blackberry section of Vodafone.co.uk website needs to be cleaned as well - to prevent future attack similar to this one."

We have passed on details of the problem to Vodafone and will update this story as and when we get a response.

The type of attack against Vodafone is typical of one in five of the website infections identified by Avast. The anti-virus firm's results were culled from anonymous security incident logs submitted by users of its security software since the middle of last year. Data submitted includes information on the malware type and visited website, from which Avast draws its conclusions that infection of regular legitimate websites is a far more common cause of problems than visits to smut sites.

Infected sites recorded by the study include Brazilian software download site Baixaki and a variety of small business websites in Germany. Avast said a declining rate of the infections on ‘adult’ websites during its study emerged as a clear trend.

"We are not recommending people to start searching for erotic content but the statistics are clear - for every infected adult domain we identify there are 99 others with perfectly legitimate content that are also infected," commented Avast CTO Ondrej Vlcek. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
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
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
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.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.