New research from Google shows our online websites may not be as safe as we thought they were.
From July 2014 to June 2015, Google Safe Browsing and Search Quality identified and captured the life cycle of 760,935 incidents where vulnerable Web servers were hijacked by cybercriminals for cheap hosting and traffic acquisition, the company said on its Research at Google publications page.
Google confirmed that, every week, more than 10 million users interact with unsafe websites that can deliver malicious threats, such as malware and scams. In many cases, the websites have been left vulnerable and eventually compromised by weak passwords and outdated software.
The study, which was conducted by Google in collaboration with UC Berkeley, tested the success of Google’s Safe Browsing Alerts initiative. This service is designed to send network administrators notifications when Google detects any harmful or malicious URLs attempting to hit their network, as well as potential security breaches.
According to Google, network administrators are 50 percent more likely to address reported issues when they have continuous communication with webmasters, with the act of sending a notification to administrators having the ability to reduce the length of website infection by about 62 percent.
In a Google Research blog post, the company explained:
“When Google works directly with webmasters during critical moments like security breaches, we can help 75 percent of webmasters re-secure their content. The whole process takes a median of three days. This is a better experience for webmasters and their audience.”