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20 June 2012, 10:18

9500 malicious sites a day found by Google

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Phishing graph
Zoom Phishing sites are being detected at record levels
Source: Google
Google's Safe Browsing programme, which searches for malicious sites and warns browser users when they attempt to visit them, is now five years old, and the problem of malicious sites is still as bad as ever with the system finding more than nine thousand dangerous sites a day. In a post marking the five year anniversary, Google shared statistics on how effective the system has been.

Google Safe Browsing is used in a number of web browsers, including Firefox, Safari and Google's own Chrome, covering around 600 million web users. With around 13 million Google search results and 300,000 downloads showing a warning every day, the system has protected many users.

But, the problem of malicious sites is still growing. Google's own statistics show they are currently discovering over 300,000 phishing sites a month, the highest detection rate ever. These sites may be online for only an hour as they attempt to avoid being detected by services like Safe Browsing, and they have become more targeted both through spear phishing attacks which target particular groups of individuals and through attacks aimed at companies and banks. Phishing sites are also likely to try and get the user to install some malware.

Malware distribution through compromised innocent sites is still commonplace, but according to Google, attack web sites built specifically to deliver malware to victims are being used in increasing numbers. While these attacks have used drive-by downloads and other technical mechanisms to deploy the malware, Google notes that social engineering attacks, while still behind drive-by attacks in frequency, are a rapidly growing category.

Google asks that people don't ignore their warnings when they see them in the browser, help them find bad sites with Chrome's feedback checkbox and, if you run a web site, register with Webmaster Tools to be informed immediately if your site is hosting malware.


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