Security Market Segment LS
Saturday, 08 September 2018 04:44

US claimed as top host for malicious domains, but based on what data?

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US claimed as top host for malicious domains, but based on what data? Pixabay

Security outfit Palo Alto Networks claims the US was the top country for hosting malicious domains and exploit kits in the second quarter of 2018 - but refuses to say what data was evaluated to reach this conclusion.

In a blog post, the company's researchers Bo Qu, Tao Yan, Rongbo Shao and Zhanglin He wrote: "Unit 42 regularly analyses statistical data from our Email Link Analysis to understand the patterns and trends in current Web threats."

As statistics have little meaning unless knows the base they are drawn from, iTWire asked Palo Alto about the research.

"I need one stat: how many emails/links were analysed to obtain this data? I presume these were all from customers of Palo Alto. Some indication of the sample size is needed to give veracity to the data," was the query sent to the company.

But Palo Alto was unwilling to provide an answer. A spokesperson responded; "Apologies, but we are not able to share the sample size. Sorry for the inconvenience!"

Security firms normally base their conclusions regarding malware, exploits kits and the like on data that they collect from their own customers.

Regarding the Email Link Analysis mentioned, the company has this explanation on its site: "A Palo Alto Networks firewall can extract HTTP/HTTPS links contained in SMTP and POP3 email messages and forward the links for WildFire analysis.

"The firewall only extracts links and associated session information (sender, recipient, and subject) from email messages; it does not receive, store, forward, or view the email message."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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