Malicious Websites – The Web is a Dangerous Place

McAfee’s latest Threats Report shows a growth in malicious websites replacing botnets as the primary infection mechanism. This means that by just simply visiting a website you could be exposed to malicious things that can do harm to your computer, mobile device, finances or identity.

Websites with bad reputations are influenced by the hosting of malicious software (malware), potentially unwanted programs, or phishing sites. By the end of June 2012, the total number of bad URLs referenced by McAfee Labs™ overtook 36 million! This quarter McAfee recorded an average of 2.7 million new bad URLs per month. Of the new bad-reputation URLs, 94.2% host malware that have been specifically designed to hijack your computer.

It is important to make sure you are aware of things that can happen when you are exposed to a malicious site. The web is a dangerous place for the uninformed and unprotected. Protect yourself:

Make sure your OS is updated: Keeping your operating system updated is a must to protect against security threats. The updates protect you from any known holes that could expose you.

Keep your browser updated: Running the latest versions of the browser also help to protect you against threats that you could be exposed to.

Use security software: Having up to date comprehensive security software is a must. It should include antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, anti-phishing, a firewall and a safe search tool.

Use strong passwords: Little yellow sticky notes on your monitor with your passwords isn’t good. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols that are at least 8 characters in length. Also use different passwords for each of your accounts and if possible consider changing them up every 6 months.

Stay educated: Make sure you stay up to date on the latest tricks and tools that hackers use by reading blogs, and getting tips from trusted security sources.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. Watch him discussing information he found on used electronic devices YouTube. (Disclosures)