Just about everybody is aware that email-borne viruses exist and are always a potential threat. More and more people are also catching on to the fact that websites themselves can also pose similar threats.

Hundreds of thousands of new websites are created each day. Many are not a threat, but quite a few are malicious, or are created specifically to carry out cyberattacks. With more than a billion websites in existence, most businesses are not going to be completely able to safeguard their employees against every malicious site. Compounding the problem is the fact that websites can be hijacked – so that a harmless site today could be compromised tomorrow.

In 2017, 25% of all URLs fell into the high-risk category, thereby representing a significant risk to all businesses. High-risk URLs fell into two major categories: malware sites (33%) and proxy avoidance and anonymizers (40%). The rest were phishing and other fraud sites (15%), botnets (10%), and spyware and adware (2%).

When we look at the countries that host these malicious sites, the USA leads the list at 43%, which is identical to the share it held in 2016. This, however, does not necessarily mean that most of these cybercriminals reside here. Many of them reside elsewhere in the world and just host their sites through U.S. based hosting companies. They often choose to do so because U.S. based websites are typically considered to be more reliable, and geo-filtering services will be less prone to automatically block them as they do with sites from countries that have a more “dangerous” reputation.

Six of the top ten countries that host high-risk URLs – USA, China, Russia, France, Ukraine, and Brazil – are also on both the list of top 10 countries with malicious IP addresses. This should not be a surprise, since attackers, to increase the chance of infection, usually try to localize the payload server to the country of attack. Research has shown that certain types of sites are more likely to be high-risk or suspicious, such as e-commerce, shopping, society, streaming media, and shareware and freeware sites. Some of the least malicious types of sites tend to be health and medicine, news and media, society, and believe it or not, adult/pornographic sites.

The only effective way for an organization to protect its users, data and brand is to use up-to-the-minute URL reputation data and review programs, which are often included as part of a managed network service. For more information on Capital Business System’s managed network services, please contact us.