The greatest risk of stumbling upon a malicious link comes on video entertainment sites such as YouTube, according to Kaspersky Security Bulletin 2011. Kaspersky Lab's annual report on the evolution of IT threats and spam found that dubious links were widespread on open-access sites, and also highlighted the on-going use of social network spam and black search engine optimization. The latter resulted in search engines being the second most popular source of redirects to infected sites, with users sometimes clicking malicious links directly from major search engines like Google and Yandex.
Social networks were just one percent behind in third place. Sites like Facebook and Vkontakte were particularly popular with malicious users spreading harmful content.
Growth rate of web-based attacks slows:
The number of browser-based attacks in 2011 increased from 580,371,937 to 946,393,693. The number of web-based attacks in 2011 is 1.63 times the total for 2010, which points to a much slower rate of growth than we have seen over the course of the past three years. In 2010, a far greater surge in the number of attempted infections – eight times as many as in 2009 – was recorded. The slowed growth rate of web-based infection attempts is due to the fact that in 2011 malicious users did not use any fundamentally new mass-infection methods in launching attacks against computers. The main weapon of browser-based infection is still the exploit pack, which allows malicious users to launch drive-by attacks without the victim noticing a thing. The experts at Kaspersky Lab expect the growth rate of web-based attacks to continue to slow before the number of incidents begins to stabilize.
The geography of web-based threats:
Just 20 countries accounted for 86.4% of all malicious hosting detected by Kaspersky Lab. The two biggest offenders are the same as the previous year: the US (25.4%) and Russia (14.6%). It's important to point out that the active growth in the percentage of malicious hosting services recorded by Kaspersky Lab in these countries in prior years has stopped thanks to law enforcement efforts in shutting down botnets. However, despite the decline in the percentage of malicious hosting services in these countries, it remains at a very high level.
Around the world, online risks rose 2 percentage points in 2011 to 32.3%. Furthermore, the arrival of many Western European countries and Japan in the moderate-risk group (countries where 21-40% of users are subjected to attacks) is a troubling sign: these users are targeted by the most professional cyber criminals.