Against Intuition Inc. Finds Increased Security Threats in the Internet's Red Light District: Adult Sites Cause the Most Damage to Internet Users

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Websites offering adult content are the single most significant security threat for Internet users, comprising 31% of dangerous websites.

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Given the size of the problem there has been surprisingly little debate on the topic. Perhaps the suffering parties, individuals and companies, hesitate to express their complaints in public.

Websites offering adult content are the single most significant security threat for Internet users, comprising 31% of dangerous websites. Corporate and home users face an increased risk from web-based security threats such as spyware, viruses, browser exploits and phishing attacks when visiting adult sites.

The WOT, Web of Trust study of 19 million sites covered by the website reputation database was conducted from March to May 2008 and focused on dangerous sites (1 in 20 sites). The key finding revealed that sites containing pornography are the biggest threat for companies and individuals with a potential for financial and data loss as well as computer and network damage. Other dangerous sites were those that offered software (26%) and entertainment (14%) such as games, videos, and music. The main vehicle of attack is a permanent website, unlike the temporary sites used in phishing attacks carried out with the aid of fraudulent email messages. Dangerous sites usually remain operational for months or years, attracting millions of visitors and causing them damage.

Adult content security issue still in the closet
"Visiting the red light district of the Internet makes the user vulnerable to spyware, viruses and leakage of confidential information which can cause significant damage," said Esa Suurio, CEO of Against Intuition Inc., the company that supports Web of Trust. "Given the size of the problem there has been surprisingly little debate on the topic. Perhaps the suffering parties, individuals and companies, hesitate to express their complaints in public."

Web security the weakest point in an organization's defense
Employees who use company computers, either in the office or remotely, to access inappropriate sites, put their company at risk by introducing malware, viruses and spyware which can cause a security breach in the organization. The potential for damage is enormous, from inside and outside their firewalls, considering that confidential data can be stolen by keyloggers and tracking cookies, a common form of malware used by porn sites.

Home computers at risk from adult content security threat
Ninety percent of school-age children have viewed porn online, most while doing their homework. Children can inadvertently access pornography by innocently mistyping or using popular search terms, landing on misleading URLs and from misuse of brand names by those intentionally exposing them to porn. Unsuspecting victims can easily be fooled by drive-by downloads containing a virus that automatically redirects them to adult-related sites exposing their computer to malware. Once compromised, home computers are vulnerable to browser exploits and other security risks.

WOT offers preventive protection against online security threats and adult content
Web of Trust is a people-driven security tool that warns Internet users about dangerous and suspicious websites. WOT has hundreds of thousands of users and safety ratings of 19 million websites, including nearly 1 million sites that are unsafe for children. WOT works with Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers and is a free download: http://www.mywot.com

Supporting statistics

  •     4.2 million pornographic websites
  •     420 million pages of adult content
  •     11 new porn sites are created each hour
  •     34% of Internet users received unwanted exposure to porn
  •     The average age of first Internet exposure to pornography is 11
  •     Malware and phishing attacks cost computer users $18 million per year

About Against Intuition Inc.
Against Intuition Inc. focuses on developing and providing software and services for the WOT community and promotes the community's goals to make the Internet safer.
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http://www.mywot.com/demo

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Contact
Name: Esa Suurio CEO
Phone: +358 40 7169301
Address: Against Intuition Inc., Italahdenkatu 27 A, 00210 Helsinki, Finland
Email: esa.suurio @ mywot.com
Web site: http://www.mywot.com
Blog: http://www.mywot.com/blog

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Esa Suurio
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