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Websense Research: Converged Threats on the Rise; More than 90 Percent of Unwanted Emails Contain Links to Spam

70 percent of the top 100 most popular Web sites either hosted malicious content or contained a masked redirect to lure unsuspecting victims from legitimate sites to malicious sites.
  • 22 January, 2009 06:31

<p>Sydney — January 22, 2009 — Websense, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBSN) today revealed the findings from its bi-annual research report: Websense Security Labs™, State of Internet Security, Q3-Q4 2008. Key facts from the report:</p>
<p>70 percent of the top 100 most popular Web sites either hosted malicious content or contained a masked redirect to lure unsuspecting victims from legitimate sites to malicious sites. This represents a 16 percent increase over the last six-month period, according to new research released today from Websense Security Labs. The top 100 most popular Web sites,, many of which are social networking, Web 2.0 and search sites, represent the majority of all Web page views and are the most popular target for attackers.</p>
<p>In the second half of 2008 more than 77 percent of the Web sites Websense classified as malicious were actually sites with seemingly “good” reputations that had been compromised by attackers. This percentage is up slightly from 75 percent in the first half of 2008.</p>
<p>The number of malicious Web sites identified by Websense Security Labs from January first 2008 through January first 2009 has increased by 46 percent.</p>
<p>Websense Security Labs found that 39 percent of malicious Web attacks included data-stealing code, demonstrating that attackers are after essential information and data.</p>
<p>The Web continues to be the most popular vector for data-stealing attacks. In the second half of 2008 the Websense Security Labs found that 57 percent of data-stealing attacks are conducted over the Web, representing a 24 percent increase over the six-month period.</p>
<p>The convergence of blended Web and email threats continues to increase. Websense Security Labs reports that 90.4 percent of all unwanted emails in circulation in the second half of 2008 contained links to spam sites and/or malicious Web sites. This represents a nearly 6 percent increase in emails containing a malicious links to compromised sites.</p>
<p>Websense Security Labs uses the patent-pending Websense ThreatSeeker™ Network to discover, classify and monitor global Internet threats and trends. Security researchers use the Internet security intelligence from the system, which includes more than 50 million real-time data collecting systems that parse one billion pieces of content daily, to publish security trends and protect customers.</p>
<p>“In the last six months criminals have really stepped up their game in a few notable areas. Spammers are increasingly using links to malicious Web sites and spam sites in their email campaigns to lure users and evade security systems that lack Web intelligence. We’re also seeing an increase in cybercriminals taking advantage of the growing number of Web 2.0 properties that allow user generated content. More than ever we’re seeing attackers inject Web sites with links and iFrames to direct users to malicious and compromised sites with the ultimate purpose of stealing data,” says Dan Hubbard, Chief Technology Officer, Websense.</p>
<p>About Websense, Inc.</p>
<p>Websense, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBSN), a global leader in integrated Web, data and email security solutions, provides Essential Information Protection™ for more than 43 million employees at more than 50,000 organisations worldwide. Distributed through its global network of channel partners, Websense software and hosted security solutions help organisations block malicious code, prevent the loss of confidential information and enforce Internet use and security policies. For more information, visit</p>

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