Google’s program to identify internet sites that distribute computer viruses and other “malware” has so far uncovered one million web pages that are infecting the computers of unsuspecting surfers, report Panayiotis Mavrommatis and Niels Provos of the search company’s Anti-Malware Team. Most of the sites engaging in what the researchers term “drive-by downloads” are ordinary sites whose owners “are often unaware that their web servers have been compromised.”
Based on an analysis of a sample of sites, the Google researchers estimate that one in every thousand websites may be “malicious.”
The Google researchers also looked at the sources of the malware that is being distributed through drive-by downloads. They found that four countries seem to be responsible for “the majority of malware activity”: China, the United States, Germany, and Russia.
The findings were reported today on Google’s newly launched Online Security Blog, another sign of the company’s growing concern over the threat posed by the proliferation of malware and the compromised sites that distribute it.