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Malicious malware websites multiply by 600%

15 Feb 2013

Global websites containing malicious malware have multiplied by a worrying 600%, with 85% of legitimate web hosts playing home to the sites.

Research findings released from Websense reports an explosive year-over-year growth in global cyberattack trends on web, email, data, mobile and social media platforms.

“Year-over-year, the number of malicious web-based attacks increased by nearly 600 percent,” says Charles Renert, vice president, Websense.

“These attacks were staged predominantly on legitimate sites and challenge traditional approaches to security and trust.

"The timed, targeted nature of these advanced threats indicates a new breed of sophisticated attacker who is intent on compromising increasingly higher-yield targets.

"Only proactive, real-time security techniques, that inspect the entire lifecycle of a threat, can withstand the assault and prevent data theft.”

Findings include:

· Each week, organisations faced an average of 1,719 attacks for every 1,000 users

· Malicious websites increased by nearly 600% worldwide

· Legitimate web hosts were home to 85% of those malicious sites

· Half of web-connected malware downloaded additional executables in the first 60 seconds

· Only 7.7% of malware interacted with the system registry - circumventing many behavioural detection systems and antivirus solutions

· 32% of malicious links in social media used shortened URLs. Once cybercriminals gain access to a host they typically hide their own malicious pages deep in the directory tree - a process that generates very long and complex web links that might tip off a wary user. Link shortening solves that problem

· Only one in five emails were legitimate and email spam increased to 76%. Worldwide spam volumes reached more than a quarter of a million emails per hour

· One in 10 malicious mobile applications asked for permission to install other apps, something rarely required by legitimate apps

We’ve left messages with Websense's security team regarding specific New Zealand statistics, which they are currently trying to gather. When they do, we’ll update you accordingly.