Malware (malicious software) is software made with mostly ill-minded intention to infiltrate another computer system, gain control of the system without the consent of the owner and commit further hostile activities.
Why people create malware?
In the early days it was the expression of hackers knowledge and was done mainly for glory and recognition.
But today malware is much more sinister. It is backed up by an industry which some estimate at $2 billion a year. It is all about making money.
Read some of these spam emails and you will see often a product is being offered. There are new users Internet which will fall for these offers (often scams) creating huge profit in the process.
A newer form of malware is what can be found attacking websites today. In the 'old' days malware was mostly in the form of computer viruses. In today's age of globalization, malware starts to target websites and mobile devices.
I had to deal with malware a handful of times on my site alone. You can read about these not so pleasant experiences here:
- Check your WordPress site for viruses and malware
- How to remove the pesky JS injection virus from your WordPress blog
- You Don't Mess With Other Peoples Websites!
Website malware is often designed to steal the control of the website in order to publish malicious content, in the form of the direct product offers or links to these sites in order to boost their search engine rankings.
Detecting Malware on Websites
Seeing the immediate and huge threat of website malware, Google has developed algorithms to try and detect malicious websites and exclude them from their index.
You can access the Google malware report for your site using the form below. Read the report carefully.
Malware in search engine ranking wars
Having malware on the site is enough to get automatically blacklisted on Google (also in Firefox and Chrome browsers which use the same tool to block visits to malicious websites). Unfortunately this created another problem - malware has also become a tool in search engine rankings wars.
And often small business owners would find themselves a target of a malware script without a slightest clue of what's going on just to lose search engine traffic the next day.
Google Webmaster Tools now offer malware information for website owners but a lot of controversy remains.
I run report of the Google malware tool today for their very own domain google.com. Surprisingly:
Report says that on google.com pages the following was found:
Malicious software includes 45 exploit(s), 37 trojan(s), 11 adware(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 4 new process(es) on the target machine.
Is this a mistake? Can this be perhaps actually pages from search results (why?)
Is the tool wrong or we are looking at some major events happening soon?
The one tool that website owners are supposed to trust returns very worrying results for some of the most authoritative websites in the world.
This only creates confusion and the situation seems to favor creators of malware the most.
How serious the situation is?
Extremely serious. Millions of sites around the world are probably already affected without the owners of these websites ever suspecting anything.
- More than one million Web domains were infected with malicious code in the second quarter of 2010
- Anywhere from 500,000 to five million parked domains at Network Solutions had been serving malware to visitors due to an infected widget embedded into the pages
- Since its launch, Internet Explorer 8 has blocked access to over 560 million sites that it determined were serving malware
And I am worried that we haven't seen everything yet. It looks like we are awaiting the explosion of a ticking bomb we are blind to see.
In this case I think the society is not educated enough about how big this threat is.
If you value your site or online business it is time to inform your self and learn how to fight this menace. Spread the word about it. Start doing something about it.
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Posted in: Debate
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