Feeds

Regular domains beat smut sites at hosting malware

99 to 1, study finds

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.