User-Generated Content Sites Pose Security Threats

    January 12, 2009

Significant growth in user-generated content has led to new Internet security threats, according to a new report by Commtouch.

The fourth quarter 2008 Internet Threats Trend Report, out today, is based on the automated analysis of billions of email messages and Web sites in real-time at Commtouch’s Global Detection Centers.

User-Generated Content Sites Pose Security Threats

The report found streaming media and downloads are among the top 10 Web site categories infected with malware and /or manipulated by phishing. These are two of the most popular categories within user generated content sites.

McColo, one of the largest host of cyber-criminal gangs, was shut down in November 2008, causing spam levels to fall to one -third their usual level for a number of weeks. Spam levels averaged 72 percent of all email traffic during the quarter, dipping briefly to 59 percent following the McColo closing in November.

User-Generated Content Sites Pose Security Threats
Amir Lev

An average of 301,000 zombies were newly activated each day for malicious activity. Brazil led in zombie computer activity, producing 14.6 percent of zombies by the end of the quarter.

"With user generated content on blogs, file sharing platforms and social networks having experienced huge growth over the last few years, spammers and malicious script writers are finding new ways to engage users," said Amir Lev, chief technology officer of Commtouch.

"An increasing number of blended threats have emerged as new opportunities to infect users’ machines have arisen. These kinds of sites have become targets for new, more elaborative schemes, and users, vendors and service providers must beware and employ protection measures