Up to one in 600 social-networking pages host malware

ScanSafe has released its latest Global Threat Report on Web filtering, spyware and viruses According to an analysis of more than five billion Web requests in July, ScanSafe found that on average, up to one in 600 profile pages on social-networking sites hosted some form of malware. The company also reported that the use of social-networking sites, often assumed to be popular only with teens, accounted for approximately 1 per cent of all Web use in the workplace.

The majority of malware identified by ScanSafe was spyware and adware, and ranged from more benign programmes that track usage to difficult-to-remove spyware that can affect a user’s Web experience, for example, by redirecting the browser.

Social-networking sites like Facebook, which typically use a university or college email address to verify a user’s identity and LinkedIn, a site used for business networking, tended to be more secure than more open social-networking sites. For example, ScanSafe found no instances of malware on LinkedIn.

The research also revealed the presence of referrals to adult-themed personals sites, such as “adultfriendfinder.com,” on social-network sites popular with teens.

In addition to the statistics on social-networking sites, ScanSafe reported that spyware increased 19 per cent in July while Web viruses decreased 14 per cent. Web viruses identified and blocked by Outbreak Intelligence, the company’s proprietary heuristics engine that can detect zero-hour threats—threats that appear before an anti-virus signature becomes available—increased slightly and accounted for nearly 13 per cent of all Web viruses blocked by the company in July.

The ScanSafe Global Threat Report is based on real-time analysis of more than five billion Web requests processed by the company in July and represents the largest analysis of Web security threats based on real-world Web traffic.

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