Malware on the march, ScanSafe study claims

Infected sites stay infected for longer

There was doom and gloom aplenty on the security front today, with news that the ScanSafe Annual Global Threat report has found malware to be on the rise, with a 61 per cent increase in volume recorded during the latter half of 2007.

Zero-day or ‘new’ threats were found to account for up to 21 per cent of all malware blocked by ScanSafe. The time that compromised websites remain infected also increased from 18 days in the first half of the year, to 29 days in the second – a 62 per cent increase.

Article continues below

The study found that viruses, Trojans, password stealers and other assorted malware were all on the rise during 2007, with increasing numbers of legitimate sites being used to unknowingly host and distribute malware.

Online gamers beware

According to the study the most frequently encountered malware is designed to steal passwords and financial information. The most frequently blocked malware was found to be password-stealing Trojans targeting online gamers.

Commenting on the study, senior security researcher at ScanSafe, Mary Landesman, said that the increases in the volume and shelf-life of malware was “leaving users exposed”, and, “Representing a huge window of opportunity for cyber criminals.”

ScanSafe’s survey is based upon a scan of 80 billion web requests, and on over 800 million web threats that it blocked during 2007.