Wednesday, June 16, 2010

AVAST Antivirus Warns Consumers To Beware Of "America's Most Wanted" Websites

This summer, consumers will continue to scour the web to keep up with their interests and news. While surfing the Internet is statistically safer than, say surfing in Hawaii, it is not a risk free activity. Around 85 percent of new computer infections are contracted via the internet; largely through the 396,679 hijacked and malicious web pages which avast! identified in May.

Landing on an infected site is as simple as just looking for something … games, Hollywood gossip, even recipes. To keep Americans protected during the hectic summer, AVAST Software, providers of the avast! antivirus program, has released the first of its “America’s Most Wanted” roster of the most infected websites, alerting consumers to beware of the month’s infected websites as well as trends and site genres to approach with caution.

avast! virus labs uncovered an overwhelming popular culture theme during May for the most infected types of websites. Games, celebrities and celebrity gossip, anime, and television- and movie-related domains have been infecting users’ computers with malware and other viruses. Following is a sampling from the month’s “Most Wanted” list:

AVAST Software receives non-stop information about infected sites thanks to its CommunityIQ global network of sensors. This data, taken from the actual web browsing experiences of an opt-in group, is then used to protect all avast! users by blocking their access to infected sites.

During May 2010, avast! kept over one million users a day from accessing infected sites. The number of visits to individual infected sites jumped by 52%, with each site receiving an average 89 visitors, up from the previous level of 59. At the same time, the number of reported infected domains dropped by over 30% to 396,679.

“This is bad news for the general public as it means there are more infections at high profile, legitimate sites with a high visit rate,” explains Ondrej Vlcek, avast! Chief Technology Officer. “Sites are targeted just because they are commonly visited. This is true for pop culture sites, especially ones that focus on celebrities and celebrity gossip. While users should be cautious, most on-line hazards can simply not be seen. For this reason, avast! is more reliable than your own eyes for keeping malware out of your computer.”

Additionally, avast! found that sites like and put users at risk in a different way – savvy computer hackers target these top-level domains to redirect the user to their own separate page which then infects the user‘s computer.

To help keep users protected against the month’s most infected websites, avast! offers the following ways to steer clear of hackers and malware:

Mind where you go. P2P and download WAREZ sites are known sources for malware. Cracked copies of your favorite movie or game might contain more than you think.

Watch where you click. Don’t click on all search engine results or pop-ups that suddenly appear on your computer. You might get yourself infected with a fake security program.

Stay up to date. Keep your browser and related programs up-to-date with the newest security updates. This will reduce the opportunity for hacker to take over your computer through a known vulnerability.

Get a good antivirus program. Make sure you have a certified antivirus program properly installed which includes a web shield to protect against on-line threats.

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