Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Spyware sites increase

According to the University of Washington study , the number of spyware sites decreased by 93% from May 2005 to October 2005, but today Websense issued a press release that indicates otherwise.

During 2005, software vulnerabilities were increasingly exploited by malicious websites hosting malcode, and the Websense Master Database’s security-related categories reflect this growth. For example, since February 2005, spyware-related websites have increased from approximately 48,000 sites to more than 130,000 today - a 170 percent upsurge. In addition, during the same time period, phishing and other fraudulent websites have grown approximately 271 percent from 7,270 to more than 27,000 sites.

I suspect the Websense numbers more accurately reflect the number of spyware-infected sites as well as phishing/fraudlulent sites. An alarming trend has been seen recently - normal, benign websites are being hacked by spyware pushers. Yesterday SunbeltBLOG noted another such site (link to whois) hosted at iPowerweb. Webmasters and web hosting providers need to be vigilant about securing their servers.