Religious websites are three times riskier than porn sites for malware

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Religious and ideological web pages are more dangerous than pornographic sites with regard to malware infection according to the latest Internet Security Threat Report (PDF) from Symantec. In fact, pages featuring adult content didn’t even make the top five most infected list, instead placing tenth overall.

Symantec found that religion-based sites on average have three times the number of threats as opposed to pornographic sites. It may sound a bit farfetched but the reasoning behind the numbers is pretty legitimate.

The security firm believes that because pornographic website owners already make money from the service they provide, they have a vested interest in maintaining a satisfied customer base. Loading a customer’s computer with click-generating malware would, in the short term, net increased revenue from fraudulent ad clicks but at the same time, would drive away repeat business. It’s a business model that’s ultimately set up for failure.

Hackers know that “trusted” sites like those based around religion generally seem safer to the public and as such, make a perfect target for malware.

Topping the list of most dangerous website categories for 2011 was blogs / web communications sites, followed by hosting / personal hosted sites and business / economy pages; shopping sites and education / reference pages round out the top five.

Data from the report was collected through the Symantec Global Intelligence Network which is comprised of nearly 65 million “attack sensors” that monitor activity in more than 200 countries.

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