Hackers ‘hide in search not porn’

hacker_0Consumers are far more likely to infect their computers by using a search engine than a pornographic website, according to a new report by online security giant Cisco, which in one fell swoop turns received wisdom on its head.
The company’s 2013 Annual Security Report shows that cyber criminals are hitting their targets where they were most likely to gather in numbers and were increasingly launching “combinational” attacks.
Despite popular assumptions that security risks increase as a person’s online activity becomes shadier, the report reveals the highest concentration of online security threats do not target pornography, pharmaceutical or gambling sites as much as they do legitimate sites, such as major search engines, retail sites and social media outlets.
In fact, Cisco found that online shopping sites are 21 times as likely, and search engines are 27 times as likely, to deliver malicious content than a counterfeit software site. Meanwhile online ads are 182 times more likely to deliver malicious content than porn.
Chris Young, senior vice-president for Cisco’s Security and Government Group, said: “We’ve been led to believe you have to go to an unsavoury place to encounter malware. That’s not the case.
“Today, we live a blended work-personal life. Hackers know this, and the security threats that we encounter online such as embedded Web malware while visiting popular destinations like search engines, retailers, social media sites and smartphone/tablet apps no longer threaten only the individual; they threaten our organisations by default.”
The report also said that mobile malware accounted for barely a half a per cent of malware attacks, although there has been a 2,577% jump in Android-based malware since the previous report.

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