Study finds Internet rife with attack codes

Report evaluate methods to defend against client-side attacks on web browsers

Even seemingly safe web addresses are rife with attack code aiming at vulnerable clients, according to a new study from the Honeynet Project. The study also found that methods such as blacklists can be surprisingly successful in stopping client-side attacks.

Attackers are increasingly turning to end-user systems as a way around the antivirus and firewall systems that are increasingly blocking access to traditional attack routes, according to the researchers, who hail from the US, Germany and New Zealand.

"The 'black hats' are turning to easier, unprotected attack paths to place their malware onto the end-user's machine," they said in the study, called "Know Your Enemy: Malicious Web Servers."

The researchers, using a "high-interaction" client honeypot called Capture-HPC developed by the Victoria University of Wellington, analyzed more than 300,000 addresses from around 150,000 hosts.

The study looked at various site categories, including adult, music, news, "warez," defaced, spam and addresses designed to grab traffic from users who mistype common web addresses. While some categories were more likely to contain malicious addresses than others, all contained malicious addresses, the report said.

"As in real life, some 'neighborhoods' are more risky than others, but even users that stay clear of these areas can be victimized," the report said. "Any user accessing the web is at risk."

Users can be led to malicious sites via links, typing in an address manually, mistyping an address or following search-engine results, the study said.

These results only confirm what security researchers have been saying for some time now. But the study also analyzed the effectiveness of safeguards against such infections in some detail.

The research showed that blacklists, if regularly updated, can be a surprisingly effective way of blocking malicious addresses.

The researchers also recommended regular patching, but this may not always be straightforward, since the study found a prevalence of attacks against plug-ins and non-browser applications. "Attacks also target applications that one might have not think about patching, such as Winzip," the study said.

Another technique that can block attacks would be to use a less popular browser, such as Opera, the study found. "Despite the existence of vulnerabilities, this browser didn't seem to be a target," the study said.

The data used as the basis for the study has been made available on the Honeynet Project's website.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?