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Over 10 Million People Exposed to Drive-by Exploits in February 2012

New Barracuda Labs Research Study Examines Top 25,000 Websites for Compromises and Risks

Campbell, Calif. (April 2, 2012) – Barracuda Networks Inc., a leading provider of security, networking and data protection solutions, today released findings from Barracuda Labs’ most recent study, Good Websites Gone Bad. The study analyzes the world’s top 25,000 websites, according to Alexa, to identify compromises and risks to consumers online. During the one-month study, February 2012, the team identified a number of exploited websites, exposing more than 10 million users to drive-by downloads and other risks. An infographic highlighting the study is available at

Additional highlights of the study include:

  • Each day two of the top 25,000 domains serve malicious content, statistically guaranteeing that at least one popular website will serve malicious content every day.
  • The top-ranked domains served malicious content 23 of the days in February, proving that this problem is not isolated and occurs on a continuous, regular basis.
  • The top-ranked domains that served malicious content spanned across 18 different countries, demonstrating that this problem has no geographic barrier.
  • Over 97 percent of sites that served malicious content were at least one year old; over half were on sites more than five years old. This indicates that attackers use well-established, long-lived websites for their drive-by download campaigns.

"Web security has shifted. If you are a popular website or company, the attackers want access to your users. Good sites gone bad is a serious problem,” said Dr. Paul Judge, chief research officer at Barracuda Networks.  "Users must be careful when visiting even long-time trusted sites and also more than ever legitimate websites must take steps to protect their websites from compromise."


About Barracuda Labs
Barracuda Labs is a global multi-disciplinary research and threat analysis team that fulfills a critical role in developing innovative technologies across Barracuda Networks' business areas. The team evaluates the threat ecosystem and creates security intelligence to defend Barracuda Networks customers. Barracuda Labs' threat research areas, which include email, Web, network and cloud security and technology, are designed to improve the world’s security posture by promoting security awareness and education, developing and innovating new defense technologies, and working with government and law enforcement agencies to reduce cybersecurity crime. For more information, please visit