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Blue Coat Examines Malware Ecosystems in 2011 Mid-Year Web Security Report

Report Identifies 10 Largest Malware Delivery Networks and Traces User Entry Points Into the Networks

SUNNYVALE, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 07/06/11 -- Blue Coat Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: BCSI), a leading provider of Web security and WAN optimization solutions, today released its 2011 Mid-Year Web Security Report, which examines Web-based malware ecosystems, including the 10 largest malware delivery networks. These malware delivery networks are typically hosted across multiple sites and are responsible for launching dynamic attacks on unsuspecting users. The report examines the interactions of malware ecosystems, including user behavior, malware hosting sites and delivery networks.

"Web-based malware has become so dynamic that it is nearly impossible to protect every user from every new attack with traditional defenses," said Steve Daheb, chief marketing officer and senior vice president at Blue Coat Systems. "With a unique comprehensive view of the Web ecosystem, Blue Coat Web security solutions can identify and track malware networks to proactively protect customers from new attacks that these networks attempt to launch."

For the first half of 2011, Shnakule was the leading malware delivery network, both by size and effectiveness. On average during that period, this network had 2,000 unique host names per day with a peak of more than 4,300 per day. It also proved the most adept at luring users in, with an average of more than 21,000 requests and as many as 51,000 requests in a single day. Shnakule is a broad-based malware delivery network whose malicious activities include drive-by downloads, fake anti-virus and codecs, fake flash and Firefox updates, fake warez, and botnet/command and controls. Interrelated activities include pornography, gambling, pharmaceuticals, link farming, and work-at-home scams.

Not only is Shnakule far reaching as a standalone malware delivery network, it also contains many large component malware delivery networks. Ishabor, Kulerib, Rabricote and Albircpana, which all appear on the top 10 list of largest malware delivery networks, are actually components of Shnakule and extend its malicious activities to gambling-themed malware and suspicious link farming.

The 2011 Mid-Year Web Security Report also analyzes how and where on the Internet users are brought into malware delivery networks. In the first half of 2011, search engine poisoning was the most popular malware vector. In nearly 40 percent of all malware incidents, Search Engines/Portals were the entry point into malware delivery networks. Unsurprisingly, Search Engines/Portals were also the most requested Web content during the same time period. Social Networking was the fifth most popular entry point into malware delivery networks and the third most requested content.

While cybercrime typically targets users where they spend the most time, as in the case of search engines and social networking, in the first half of 2011, they also used traditional methods, such as email and pornography. Email was the third most popular category of Web content used to drive users to a malware network although the category only ranked as the 17th most requested category. Pornography, a longtime favorite malware target, was virtually tied with Email and was the 4th most popular way to lure users to malware, although it was only the 20th most requested category.

After analyzing the dynamic and interrelated nature of Web-based malware ecosystems, the 2011 Mid-Year Web Security Report concludes that:

  • Malware hosting is often found within categories, such as Online Storage and Software Downloads, that companies typically allow in acceptable use policies.
  • Businesses should consistently block Pornography, Placeholders, Phishing, Hacking, Online Games and Illegal/Questionable categories to follow best practices for Web security.
  • Searching for images and pirated media ranks at the top of the list for possible malware delivery, and users engaging in these activities are especially vulnerable.
  • A single defense layer, such as a firewall or anti-virus software, is insufficient to protect against the dynamic nature of malware and the extensive infrastructure of malware delivery networks. Instead, businesses need the real-time protection and intelligence that a cloud-based Web defense can deliver as it quickly expands and adapts to new threats.

The data in the report is derived from the Blue Coat WebPulse™ collaborative cloud defense and analyzed by the Blue Coat Security Labs. WebPulse unites over 75 million users in a real-time web defense and provides a comprehensive view into Web ecosystems by rating and analyzing nearly 3 billion real-time URL requests per week. With its view into the Web, WebPulse can correlate dynamic lures with delivery paths and dynamic payloads to provide real-time protection against new and emerging threats.

WebPulse provides on-demand intelligence for the Blue Coat Web Security product portfolio, including its Secure Web Gateway solution and the Blue Coat Cloud Service. WebPulse uniquely protects against malware downloads, phishing and spear-phishing attacks, and malicious call-home traffic from botnet infected systems.

Additional Resources
2011 Mid-Year Web Security Report
http://www.bluecoat.com/doc/16622

Images: Top Five Malware Delivery Networks
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluecoatsystems/sets/72157627000077603/

About Blue Coat Systems
Blue Coat Systems is a leading provider of Web security and WAN optimization solutions. Blue Coat offers solutions that provide the visibility, acceleration and security required to optimize and secure the flow of information to any user, on any network, anywhere. This application intelligence enables enterprises to tightly align network investments with business requirements, speed decision making and secure business applications for long-term competitive advantage. Blue Coat also offers service provider solutions for managed security and WAN optimization, as well as carrier-grade caching solutions to save on bandwidth and enhance the end-user Web experience. For additional information, please visit www.bluecoat.com.

Blue Coat, WebPulse and the Blue Coat logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Blue Coat Systems, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and certain other countries. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners.

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