Monday, 25 February 2019 11:42

Adult websites safer to use in 2018 than 2017: study

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Adult websites safer to use in 2018 than 2017: study Pixabay

Threats to users of adult websites have decreased in 2018, compared to the previous year, with 650,000 users facing attacks from online resources, a drop of 36% from 2017 when more than a million attacks were recorded, a study claims.

Security outfit Kaspersky Lab said its researchers used several different indicators to look at the threats to those who use porn websites. "We examined malware disguised as pornographic content, and malware that hunts for credentials to access pornography websites," the firm said.

"We looked at the threats that are attacking users across the Internet in order to find out which popular websites might be dangerous to visit.

"Additionally, we checked our phishing and spam database to see if there is a lot of pornographic content on file and how is it used in the wild. Using aggregated threat-statistics obtained from the Kaspersky Security Network we measured how often and how many users of our products have encountered adult-content themed threats."

Other findings:

Cyber criminals use popular porn-tags to promote malware in search results. The 20 most popular make up 80% of all malware disguised as porn. Overall, 87,227 unique users downloaded porn-disguised malware in 2018, with 8% using a corporate rather than personal network to do this.

In 2018, the number of attacks using malware to hunt for credentials that grant access to pornography websites grew almost three-fold compared to 2017, with more than 850,000 attempts to install such malware. The number of users attacked doubled, with 110,000 PCs being attacked across the world.

The number of unique sales offers of credentials for premium accounts to adult content websites almost doubled to more than 10,000.

Porn-themed threats increased in terms of number of samples, but declined in variety. In 2018, Kaspersky Lab identified at least 642 families of PC threats disguised under one common pornography tag. In terms of their malicious function, these families were distributed between 57 types (76 in 2017). In most cases they are are trojan-downloaders, trojans and adware.

Eighty-nine percent of infected files disguised as pornography on Android devices turned out to be adware.

In Q4 2018, there were 10 times as many attacks coming from phishing websites pretending to be popular adult content resources, compared to Q4 2017 when the overall figure reached 21,902 attacks.

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Sam Varghese

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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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