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Porn, gambling websites safer than search engines, social networking sites

A report from network technology giant CISCO reveals that internet users are more prone to cyber attacks through search engines, social networking websites and online ads than pornographic or gambling websites. Mahesh Gupta, Vice President for Cisco India and SAARC was quoted as saying, "Common belief holds that one increases their individual risk to security threats when they seek out illicit content like counterfeit software, online deals, hacking sites or even view pornography.”

He also added that areas users consider as safe are just opposite, now a days cyber attackers attack conventional online address that handle large volume of users. The study found that 91 per cent of clicks to web pages were divided among search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing...etc (36 percent); 22 per cent by online video streaming websites – YouTube.

Meanwhile, social networking sites - Facebook, Twitter along with other advertising websites hold 13 percent of hits, said the CISCO annual security report. "Viewing online advertisements are 182 times more likely to deliver malicious content than pornographic sites. Similarly, online shopping sites are 21 times as likely, and search engines 27 times more likely, to deliver malicious content than a counterfeit software site," the CISCO India Vice President said.

The annual report also adds that India continued the spam capital of the world which was closely followed by US for sending out unwanted emails to Internet users globally last year. However, last year saw 18 per cent drop in the overall intensity of spam generated globally compared to 2011,

Being the highest spam-producer, India produced 12.3 percent of world’s overall spam, while US rose to the second spot from sixth in 2012. The other countries in top five were Korea (4.6 percent), China (4.19 percent) and Vietnam (4 percent), Cisco said. The top languages used to spam were English followed by  Russian, Catalan, Japanese, and Danish.

Another major finding in the study was that only three per cent of spam mails had attachments against 25 per cent of valid email.  This is against the conventional belief that spam mails have attachments which may lead to users downloading unauthentic content.

"Spammers are now designing their campaigns to convince users to click on links to visit websites where they can purchase products or services (often dubious). Once the users do that, their personal information is collected, often without their knowledge, or they are compromised in some other way," Mahesh Gupta said. Most of the spam comes from groups which attempt to sell branded goods like luxury watches, pharmaceuticals etc and in most cases these are fake, he added.

Posted by - Gebin
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