AVG Technologies, makers of the world’s most popular free anti-virus software,
today unveiled the results of a research study which shows that – contrary to
popular opinion – most malicious websites are hosted on US servers and not in
other countries like China.
The AVG research study is based on the analysis of threats reported
during the last 6 months from AVG’s 110 million worldwide users of its
LinkScanner web security product. The research indicates an increase in malware
serving web sites targeting end users, which typically focus on stealing online
banking credentials, credit card information, personal identities and passwords
to social sites.
The detection and analysis of exploits was based on AVG’s unique
crowd-sourced methods for analyzing web content for malicious or dangerous
intent as reported by AVG’s vast network of LinkScanner installations worldwide.
AVG’s research shows that malicious code is not just an issue with outlaw
servers located in countries with weak laws and lax enforcement. Monitoring
active web servers serving exploits around the world indicates that 44 percent
of the corrupted servers are hosted in the United States, followed by Germany
and China at just 5 percent each. Many of these malware-serving websites are
legitimate sites compromised by hackers to serve exploits on their behalf. In
total, exploitive servers were found in nearly 4,600 locations throughout the
It is important to note that this research makes no statement about
who owns or is directing the efforts of these servers – for those criminals
and/or criminal networks could be anywhere in the world – and they are.
"The results of this study shatter the myth that
malicious code is primarily hosted in countries where e-crime laws are less
developed,” said Karel Obluk, Chief Technology Officer, AVG Technologies. “Our
research shows that malicious content is much more likely to show up on web
servers in the U.S. than one in Asia or Eastern Europe. This makes perfect sense
since the USA is a primary target market for the criminals and has rich and
mature Internet infrastructure making the threats both highly accessible and
cheap to host. What is most striking is the clear rise in the number of
malicious servers in the last six months. Today’s hacking techniques are highly
evasive so the average user cannot tell if a website is serving malware or not.
A web security product is needed."
Obluk continued, "Even more important to note is that,
on average during this six month period, about 50 percent of the domains hosted
on these servers were online and hosting threats only one day or less. This
transient nature makes them very hard to find and add to traditional
reputation-based protection systems in time to be helpful to users."
As a preventive measure, users should look for web security
protection when going online. AVG’s LinkScanner, included in all of AVG’s
products, is a highly effective product to protect users from today’s malware in
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