Report: Malware-laden sites double in a year ago [CNET News]
A troubling report released this week by Dasient indicates that malware sites doubled in the fourth quarter of 2010 from the same time period one year ago. The Internet security company tracks malware sites, which number more than one million. According to the report, the sheer number of these malware sites have created a probability that the average Internet user will hit an infected page at 95 percent within a three month period.
Dasient's researchers also discovered that social networking sites can be fertile platforms for malware distribution. They tested a dozen social networking sites - which were not identified in the report - 80 percent of those sites allowed links that had been flagged by Google SafeBrowsing as problematic. All of the social networking sites it tested allowed links to be posted that would download a benign file to a user's computer. In theory, malware distributors could exploit these vulnerabilities to do a drive-by download of malicious code.
All of these statistics make the case for keeping an up-to-date copy of software that provides malware protections on a user's system and using safe browsing techniques. That means using extreme caution when clicking on links, even when they appear to be from a trusted source, like a friend on your favorite social networking site.