The Web's Shadiest Neighborhoods: What You Need to Know

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A Limitless Supply of TLDs

Bad guys always need a new supply of domains to do bad things.

Previous Blue Coat research, "One-Day Wonders: How Malware Hides Among the Internet's Short-Lived Websites," explored in depth how many sites on the web only exist for less than 24 hours. The explosion of new TLDs has provided a nearly limitless supply of "one-day wonders" for the taking. Links to these locations are included in spam campaigns, and they are changed rapidly to increase the chances that they will evade security defenses before they are updated.

Much like in the streets of New York City in "Ghostbusters," suspicious activity is happening in varying degrees all over the web. The relative risk of visiting a website in a "shady" neighborhood can vary dramatically depending on who is managing the "residents" there.

What many users may not realize is that the letters following the "." in a website address represent a top-level domain (TLD) – essentially a "neighborhood" of addresses – maintained by a specific company or group. Ideally, TLDs would all be run by security-conscious operators who diligently review new domain name applications, and reject those that don't meet a stringent set of criteria.

Unfortunately, the reality for many of these new neighborhoods is that they go unpoliced, like Slimer wreaking havoc on the 12th floor of the Sedgewick Hotel. To avoid getting slimed, businesses and consumers need guidance to understand how safe, or how shady, these new TLDs may be considered for web security purposes.

Courtesy of Blue Coat research, let's take a closer look at the web's shadiest neighborhoods.


Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

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