Online shopping more dangerous than surfing porn?


malware

Is this good news for the males out there? Maybe not so good news for the ladies?

According to a report recently published by networking giant Cisco; malware is more likely to come from advertisements on seemingly legitimate sites than from those sites traditionally considered as presenting a higher level of risk, such as sites hosting adult content or those dealing in illegal pharmaceuticals.

The findings presented by CISCO are the result of two globally conducted studies which uncovered several surprises. CISCO’s 2013 Annual Security Report rates online shopping sites at 21 times more likely to deliver a malicious package to your PC than a counterfeit software site… and search engines 27 times more likely. However, neither compare to online advertisements, which appear to be the riskiest of all, with ads being calculated at 182 times more likely to hit you with a virus than scouring the Net for porn.

ban porn           online shopping

Not that visiting porn sites should be considered safe, merely relatively so. Viewing porn online can still lead to viruses, and not the kind that cause a rash either.

According to Cisco, people who mix work-related and personal online activity via smartphones and other mobile devices are in the “high risk” bracket for security breaches. That’s particularly the case for what Cisco terms ‘Generation Y’ mobile device users who are described as constantly checking social media, email, and texts.

That lifestyle is entering work environments in greater numbers. Unfortunately, what the security studies show is the next-generation workforce’s lifestyles are also introducing security challenges that companies have never had to address on this scale.

Based on the Cisco Connected World Technology Report’s survey results, most Gen Y employees (91%) say they believe the age of privacy is over, while one third say they are not worried about data stored online.

They are willing to sacrifice personal information for socialization online. Remarkably, most global Gen Y workers said they feel more comfortable sharing personal details with retail sites than with their own employers’ IT departments.

Today, we live a blended work-personal life. The hackers know this, and the security threats that we encounter online, such as embedded Web malware, while visiting popular destinations like search engines, retailers, social media sites, and smartphone/tablet apps, no longer threaten only the individual; they threaten our organizations by default.

Wen you think about it, this definitely follows logic. Cyber crooks are not silly and are bound to continue instigating their attacks from areas known to attract the highest numbers of users.


On a side note, and again quoting Cisco; the U.S. still  leads the way in global Web malware, with more than 33% of all infections. Russia comes in at number 2, with 9.79%. China, which has always held a prominent position in malware rankings, has dropped from being the second most malware-stricken country in 2011 to sixth spot last year.

According to the studies, Android malware encounters grew by a massive 2,577 percent during 2012… although mobile malware still represents a mere 0.5 percent of total Web virus instances.

In the immortal words proffered by legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan… the times they are a-changin’

[View more details regarding Cisco’s Annual Security Report here: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/vpndevc/annual_security_report.html]

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About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

8 Comments

  1. Telling people that online shopping sites are more likely to infect your PC with a virus than online porn sites or counterfeit software is just scaremongering, unless you are prepared to at least offer some security tips that might mitigate the risk! Otherwise, what is the point in telling us about the risk?!!!!

  2. Not surprising.
    I find these days that no matter where I go I usually end up with some malware.
    Usually it’s low threat stuff.
    But for folk not prepared, & without the right tools, (diagnostic & removal) this low threat stuff can be difficult to deal with.
    In the last 2 years my Visa credit card has twice been used without my permission & knowledge.
    No big deal one might say – the banks problem!
    Actually it was the banks security system that discovered the misuse (quite quickly really) & alerted me to check …… card cancellation & reissue etc.
    Now my point is, that I hardly ever use this card, it sits in my wallet (for emergency use), if I make an online purchase it’s always by Paypal.
    So how the heck were the card details obtained?
    Cost my bank $600 which is part of the unseen credit card costs.

    • Hi Peter – Most likely scenario would be offline… at a restaurant or store, somewhere you’ve paid a bill with that card. Once someone has the card in their hand, it’s not difficult to ascertain details, and with cameras included in most devices (including smartphones) these days, it’s even easier.

  3. Well, this is frickin’ duh, and the viruses from porn sites do not come from porn sites, they come from the pop-up ads AT porn sites. This thing is DUH because the stats are done in categories, with no regard given to whether you’re at WalMart.com, which obviously will not give you a virus, or buy-cheap-suff-now-look-im-a-fraud.com, which obviously easily will, or unknownrandomindependentsite.com, which probablay won’t give you a virus but might keep the currency and not ship your stuff. Considering you are putting things only in CATEGORIES and not the right categories, then OBVIOUSLY it is going to end up like this. And the sites that are considered “trustworthy” for SPAM and viruses still are and the sites that aren’t aren’t.

    • the viruses from porn sites do not come from porn sites, they come from the pop-up ads AT porn sites

      Exactly! Sorry, I thought the report from Cisco made that quite clear.

      you are putting things only in CATEGORIES and not the right categories

      “We”.. are not putting anything in anything, Cisco is!

    • with no regard given to whether you’re at WalMart.com, which obviously will not give you a virus, or buy-cheap-suff-now-look-im-a-fraud.com, which obviously easily will, or unknownrandomindependentsite.com, which probablay won’t give you a virus

      That is a very general statement!
      The “bad guys” are going after legitimate sites, whatever they may be. In the past they would try to get information from the site (login, credit card, etc) but of late they have begun to attack legitimate sites to find vulnerabilities. They then use the vulnerabilities to insert their own nefarious code to infect visitors.

      There are too many cases, where legitimate sites have been used to infect visitors, to list but a perfect example is http://mashable.com/2013/02/15/malware-los-angeles-times/.