In a new report, Google says malware is running rampant on the Internet:
The Google report on malware found that a browser can be compromised just by visiting a Web page.
According to Google research, hundreds of thousands of Web sites are infected with malicious software that could give attackers the ability to steal the personal identities of visitors.
The research, titled "The Ghost in the Browser: Analysis of Web-Based Malware," reported that an adversary who can successfully compromise a victim's browser can gain access to banking and medical records, authorization passwords, and personal communication records.
Google said that in its analysis of several billion URLs and an in-depth look at 4.5 million Web sites over a 12-month period, it discovered 450,000 sites were successfully launching drive-by-downloads of malware code.
Graham Cluley, a senior analyst with security firm Sophos, said researchers at his firm agree with Google's findings. "Everybody needs to learn to protect themselves better from these kind of attacks," he said. "More and more businesses are recognizing the need to scan their Web gateway just as they do their e-mail gateway to keep abreast of emerging threats."