Symantec reports that religious websites are more likely to infect computers with a virus than sites serving up naughty adult material. Why? Because the latter has likely invested money into securing their sites against hacks and infections. After all, it would be bad for business if a customer looking for adult material contracted a virtual disease before the virtual action even started.
"It is interesting to note that Web sites hosting adult/pornographic content are not in the top five, but ranked tenth," the report states on page 33. "Moreover, religious and ideological sites were found to have triple the average number of threats per infected site than adult/pornographic sites. We hypothesize that this is because pornographic website owners already make money from the internet and, as a result, have a vested interest in keeping their sites malware-free – it’s not good for repeat business."
As expected, the top five most-infected sites are blogs and web communications (19.8-percent), hosting and personal hosted sites (15.6-percent), business and economy (10-percent), shopping (7.7-percent), and finally education and reference (6.9-percent). The average number of malicious web sites identified per day in 2011 was 9,314, up from 6,051 in 2010. 61-percent of the websites found to be infected were actually "regular" web sites that have been compromised rather than sites intentionally created to serve up malware. That should say a lot about the level of security implemented within these "regular" sites.
"Drive-by attacks continue to be a challenge for consumers and businesses," the report reads. "They are responsible for hundreds of millions of attempted infections every year. Attackers keep changing their technique and they have become very sophisticated. Badly-spelled, implausible email has been replaced by techniques such as ‘clickjacking’ or ‘likejacking’ where a user visits a website to watch a tempting video and the attackers use that click to post a comment to all the user’s friends on Facebook, thereby enticing them to click on the same malicious link."
Symantec's top 10 most dangerous websites in 2011 saw pornography at the bottom (2.4-percent) of the list, followed by health & medicine in the 9th position (2.7-percent), automotive in the 8th position (3.8-percent), entertainment & music in the 7th position (3.8-percent), and (gasp) technology, computer & internet in the 6th position (6.9-percent).
To read the full 52-page report, download Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report (Vol. 17, April 2012) in PDF format here. Sadly, based on the findings, it seems that Web surfers are more apt to dump money into adult material than in the collection plate on Sunday morning.