What category of websites is most likely to get your users’ computers infected with malware? It may not be the first thing that comes to mind.
That’s the conclusion of recent research by security firm Websense.
While pornography sites are certainly dangerous places to surf, Websense warns an even bigger threat is that of legitimate sites that link to malicious content or contain embedded malware.
In fact, from a majority of places on the web, users are only two clicks away from malicious content, according to Websense’s study. That includes:
- 70% of news sites
- 70% of message boards and forums, and
- 50% of social networking sites.
Friends’ Facebook profiles can be especially dangerous — 40% of Facebook status updates contain links, and, according to Websense, 10% of those links lead to malware or spam.
Another top threat: poisoned search results. More than ever before, cybercriminals are creating or hijacking sites to take advantage of traffic generated by popular search topics.
The most dangerous search results often involve popular news or pop culture topics. However, criminals have also begun targeting very specific topics. According to Websense’s research:
- 25% of search results for “World Cup 2014″ contain malware
- 30% of results for “baby bedding and decor in London” are malicious, and
- 12% of results for “car parts in Toronto” have malicious content.
What’s the best way to protect your network from threats on those sites? Websense recommends keeping security software up-to-date, as well as educating users on safe browsing habits.
Many users assume they’re safe as long as they aren’t going to shady parts of the web, but they need to understand all the other places where threats can exist.