Security Experts:

Community Project Crushes 100,000 Malware Sites in 10 Months

Nearly 100,000 malware distribution websites have been identified and taken down over the course of 10 months as part of an abuse.ch project called URLhaus. 

Launched at the end of March 2018 with the purpose of collecting and sharing URLs used for malware distribution, the project has already proven a great success and enjoyed help from the community, abuse.ch says. 

During the past 10 months, 265 security researchers around the world have identified and submitted in average 300 malware sites each day. On average, URLhaus counts between 4,000 and 5,000 active malware distribution sites daily. 

“2/3 of the top malware hosting networks are hosted either in the US or China,” abuse.ch reveals.

URLhaus has been successful among hosting providers as well, helping them identify and address compromised websites hosted on their networks. 

One aspect that still requires improvement, however, is the average takedown time. At the moment, malware distribution sites stay active for more than a week on average (8 days, 10 hours, 24 minutes), which allows them to infect thousands every day.

The takedown of malware sites hosted in China, abuse.ch reveals, is higher compared to other countries, with the three top Chinese malware hosting networks needing more than a month to take action against these sites.

Abuse.ch also reveals that a large number of malware distribution sites tracked by URLhaus are related to the Emotet Trojan. Of the 380,000 malware samples (payloads) that URLhaus has collected over the past 10 months, 15,700 were Emotet variants (Gozi came in second with 12,800 samples). 

“URLhaus wouldn't be successful without the help of the community. But we are not where we should be yet. There is still a long way to go with regards to response time of abuse desks. An average reaction time of more than a week is just too much and proves a bad internet hygiene,” abuse.ch points out. 

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