Google: Attack code more likely on Microsoft IIS

Google reports that IIS Web servers are twice as likely to be hosting malware

Web sites running Microsoft's Web server software are twice as likely to be hosting malicious code as other Web sites, according to research from Google.

Last month, Google's Anti-Malware team looked at 70,000 domains that were either distributing malware or hosting attack code and made the finding. "Compared to our sample of servers across the Internet, Microsoft IIS features twice as often as a malware-distributing server," wrote Google's Nagendra Modadugu, in a Tuesday blog posting.

Together, IIS (Internet Information Services) and Apache servers host about 89 percent of all Web sites, but collectively they're responsible for 98 percent of all Web-based malware. Google actually found an equal number of Apache and IIS Web sites hosting malicious software, but because there are so many more sites hosted by Apache servers (66 percent versus Microsoft's 23 percent) malicious sites make up a much larger percentage of all IIS servers.

Modadugu didn't draw any conclusions about whether this means that Microsoft servers are more likely to be hacked. "It is important to note that while many servers serve malware as a result of a server compromise... some servers are configured to serve up exploits by their administrators," Modadugu wrote.

Google also found that the malware server of choice varied from region to region. In China and South Korea, for example, the majority of malicious Web sites are running IIS. In the U.S., Russia, and Germany, however, Apache is the predominant malware server.

Modadugu speculated that the servers in China and South Korea may be running pirated software and, thus unable to get Microsoft's latest security updates.

According to one security researcher, the fact that IIS is so easy to use may account for Google's findings. It's easier to operate an ISS Web server than an Apache Web server, said Cesar Cerrudo, CEO of security research firm Argeniss, via instant message. "People who are not too skilled will install Windows and set up a Web server with weak configuration."

But Cerrudo said that more information would be required to draw any solid conclusions about the security of IIS. "The report says that 70,000 domains were examined but what about if 5,000 domains are in the same Web server in China?" he asked. "It's pretty easy playing with numbers and concluding. A lot of more data is needed to get the right conclusions."

Microsoft and Apache did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?