Report: Porn Searches Nearly Half of Security Threats

Jan 18, 2011 1:00 PM PST
CYBERSPACE — Nearly half of all searches for porn sites put users at risk of a malicious attack, according to web security firm Symantec.

A company study said that hackers are lurking behind hundreds of thousands of porn sites and that 44 percent of search terms that point users to malicious websites were for porn content.

Symantec also discovered more than 4.4 million malicious web pages per month in 2010 after it monitored more than 310,000 web domains found to be harmful.

The company also warned that hackers are being recruited on underground Internet forums, where they can buy “step-by-step attack kits” for as little as $16.

The do-it-yourself software can be used to help launch widespread attacks on networked computers.

The kits are so simple to use experts say cyber crime is no longer limited to programming geeks with advanced skills.

“In the past, hackers had to create their own threats from scratch, limiting the number of attackers to a small pool of highly skilled cyber criminals,” said Stephen Trilling, senior vice president at Symantec.

He added, “Today’s attack tool kits make it relatively easy for even a malicious novice to launch a cyber attack. As a result, we expect to see even more criminal activity in this area and a higher likelihood that the average user will be victimized.”

Symantec said 61 percent of malicious web attacks can be attributed to these types of kits pointing to a “ Zeus” kit that hits small businesses without sophisticated security and steals banking account information.

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