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Malware Ridden Sites Rise Nearly 200% During Q1 2009

Security company MessageLabs through its 2009 Q1 spam report indicates that consumers using older web browsers are facing a new danger that could lead to problems for e-retailers and online marketers.

The company states that the total number of websites stopped from being accessed globally because of hosting malware increased more than 197% during the first quarter of 2009, the highest since October 2008. Evidently, the problem arises because some people who own websites may not realize that their content is malicious.

The report also states that the increase in blocked websites has a connection with the rise in the number of graphics hosted on websites as well as embedded in e-mails. These graphics have malicious VBScript/JavaScript injected that could exploit older web browser vulnerabilities. The browsers, especially the older ones, attach the scripts to a graphic code so that the hostile script is also unleashed during the rendering of the code.

Besides, a typical use of these scripts is to provide Internet ads to end-users. These are also used legally with freely available Internet tracking devices. Free picture hosting, social-networking as well as file-sharing websites have a greater chance of being hit by this new attack.

Furthermore, with an increased attention to e-mail tricks in the last six months of 2008 and the early part of 2009, cyber crooks are now changing their ruses. They are focusing more on web-related tricks to avoid being detected. However, their goals remain the same i.e. to carry out espionage and make financial gain.

Additionally, the report reveals that in March 2009, the global proportion of spam to e-mail traffic originating from previously unknown or new bad sources was 75.7%, a rise of 2.4% since February 2009. Also, the rate of spam in Q1 2009 leveled at 74.5% as against 72.4% in Q4 2008.

Ultimately, throughout Q1 2009, spammers have been exploiting the current economic crisis to device their spam campaigns.

Besides, according to MessageLabs, increasingly authentic e-mails are coming from cash-strapped people who are using e-mail messages as a medium for help from business organizations.

Related article: Malware Authors Turn More Insidious

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