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May 20 2007   9:56PM GMT

Web-based malware: Driveby downloads on the information superhighway

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Ghost in the browserLast week Google researchers Niels Provos, Dean McNamee, Panayiotis Mavrommatis, Ke Wang and Nagendra Modadugu released a report called “The Ghost In The Browser: Analysis of Web-based Malware.”

The report concludes that infected Web sites are responsible for spreading most of the world’s malware. Unlike the old days when a user had to open an e-mail attachment to become infected, today he doesn’t have to do anything but visit the wrong Web site. The attack is quick, it’s silent and it can turn your hard drive into toast. I ought to know — this winter I fried two hard disk drives working with 3rd-party open source video codecs.

How much do you know about Web-based malware? Take my quiz and find out.

1. Google has determined that 10% of today’s Web sites are dangerous. True or false?

2. In Web-based malware distribution, the primary goal of the attacker is to insert a small piece of HTML in a Web page. True or false?

3. Worms are the most efficient way to deliver malware over the Internet. True or false?

4. When a user is out on the Internet, the most efficient way for an attacker to gain control of his computer is through his browser. True or false?

5. In order for an attacker to compromise a Web site and gain control of a visitor’s computer, a human being has to be duped into clicking on a specific link. True or false?

6. Attackers use video sharing sites to compromise computers that would not ordinarily be vulnerable. True or false?

7. Web-based malware is essentially a home user problem. True or false?

8. Web 2.0 has made spreading malware easier. True or false?

9. Web site advertisements, although often annoying, are not efficient for spreading adware or other malware programs. True or false?

10. In banking, trojans are the malware of choice. True or false?

How’d you do on the quiz? Drop me a comment and let me know! – Margaret Rouse

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