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Ten percent of Web pages are booby-trapped with malware


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May 15, 2007

According to recent work done by Google, about 10 percent of the Internet's Web pages are booby-trapped with malware. A small Google research team found that approximately 450,000 pages out of a sample of 4.5 million pages (10 percent) contained scripts to install malicious code such as Trojans and spyware, on vulnerable computers, the BBC reports.

Google says this is a conservative estimate. Another 700,000 pages analyzed were initially thought to be suspicious by Google.

Google's study covers the well-understood problem of drive-by-downloads from compromised sites, which are eclipsing virus-infected email as a means to spread malware.

The research takes the debate further by presenting strong evidence about the sheer volume of Web content on the dark side of the Internet.

As well as hacker-run Web sites, malware can also be injected into otherwise legitimate sites via a variety of ways, the Google team explains.

The methods utilized include hacking into a Web server to plant malware, or planting it within third-party widgets or advertising.

User-generated content also creates a means to upload malware. Google's researchers hope to use their findings to map these security problems, and further help the development of a new generation of safe surfing tools that steer users away from potential problem sites.

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Source: The Register


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