Websites belonging to small- to midsized (SMB) businesses experienced an astonishing 63 attacks per day in the second quarter of this year, a study by SiteLock showed.
That number, which extrapolates to some 23,000 attacks annually, represented an increase of 186% over the 22 attacks per day that websites averaged during the same period last year. Automated bots were responsible for more than 85% of these attacks.
Despite the steep increase in attacks, many websites were inadequately protected, and site owners instead relied heavily on search engines and third parties, such as Web hosting providers, to alert them about potential security issues and breaches. Four in 10 site owners continued to erroneously believe their hosting provider was responsible for website security, SiteLock found.
SiteLock's report is based on an analysis of data from more than 6 million websites and from a survey of over 20,000 website owners.
"Many website owners are unaware that website security is their responsibility and rely too heavily on popular search engines and other third parties to notify them when they’ve been compromised," says Logan Kipp, Wordpress evangelist at SiteLock. That sort of alerting typically only happens after a breach has occurred - when it is too late, he says. "Bottom line; website owners need to take proactive secure measures."
The SiteLock analysis also showed that websites infected with spam generally tend to have a lot more infected files compared to other websites. In Q2 2017, spam-infested websites averaged some 1, 967 malware infested files: 62% of which consisted of spam; 23%, backdoors; and 8%, malicious redirects.
"Spam infections are notorious for dumping a lot of files into websites," Kipp says. Only eight percent of the total infected website sites in the SiteLock study contained spam. Even so, spam accounted for 62% of all the infected files that SiteLock discovered.
"This means that spam infections are characteristically much more disruptive in terms of their scope of impact with regard to file structure," he says. "For example, your average infected website may only have a handful of files directly impacted by malware, but spam infections may create hundreds or thousands of files and directories, making them a very one of the noisier infection types."
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