Symantec has released its “Dirtiest Web Sites of Summer 2009 list, which names the malware sites that it considers to be the most dangerous to users.
According to Symantec, 48% of the websites that make the list are sites that feature pornographic content.
The other half are websites that appear legitimate, which is what makes them especially threatening to users.
Most of the websites that made the list have 18,000 malware threats installed into their infrastructure, but 40 of the websites listed have over 20,000 threats.
Gerry Egan, director of security response at Symantec, said that the reason that many websites have so many threats is because multiple threats at once are the easiest way for a hacker to ensure that they gain access to the computer of every browser who stumbles onto an infected website.
Egan continued to say that malware is now primarily distributed through the web instead of simply through downloads that are user initiated.
Social engineering and security holes are the two most common ways for a sneaky virus or malware Trojan to find its way onto a user’s computer.
Symantec compiled the list as part of its Safe Web product, which allows users to plug a website into its browser to check if it is infected before they actually expose their computer system to the website.
McAfee and TrendMicro security firms also offer features that send an alert to a user which warns them that if they proceed they will enter an infected website.