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Hackers Likely To Target Web 2.0 Applications

The business potential of Web 2.0 is still a matter of doubt for a large number of IT managers. Nevertheless many companies are quite sure that blogs and podcasts can bring in enormous profits. A survey conducted in November 2006 by cScape revealed that the majority of the firms surveyed intend to implement Web 2.0 innovations in 2007.

However, the web security company ScanSafe anticipates that social networking sites, wikis, RSS feeds, blogs and other web 2.0 applications, will be the bull's eye of hackers in the year 2007. It seems that the growing popularity of web 2.0 applications has indeed made them tempting targets for makers of malware.

The Threat Center of ScanSafe found that at nearly 16.66% (i.e. one out of every 600) social-networking pages on the Web had malware. In December 2006, malware on such sites as MySpace, Wikipedia, and YouTube was also found. The Center said that frequently updated user-contributed web pages and customary filtering technologies that depend on honeypots and URL databases fail to keep pace with the changing content that distinguishes web 2.0 application sites.

The Center is concerned over the possibility of misuse of Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) and of course web 2.0 applications. The company revealed that certain malware, for instance 'cross-site scripting worms' (XSS) can introduce malignant code into dynamically created Web pages allowing a hacker to alter user settings and account access information, gain access to restricted sites, poison cookies, expose SSL links.

IT Week reports that researchers in many web security firms are concerned that companies that permit their employees to reach sites such as YouTube and Wikipedia could be placing their systems under risk. Sites that are dependent on user-generated content could be easy prey for malicious malware authors uploading tools of various kinds.

Although these threats exist only on paper for the time being, they have good potential of becoming real as such sites are increasingly being used. For 2007 it is advised that your web usage be carefully monitored and improved content-scanning technology be put in place.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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