Barracuda to Present Data on Twitter Crime and Search Engine Malware

by kriggins on July 28, 2010

in Announcement

Barracuda Networks issued a press release this morning discussing two presentations that will occur in Las Vegas this week and the release of their 2010 Mid-year Security Report.

The first presentation, titled "The Dark Side of Twitter", will be given at Security BSides Las Vegas this afternoon at 3:00 PST. This presentation will explore the data that Barracuda has collected that shows that Twitter use continues to rise. Along with that rise is an increase in the amount of malware that advertises itself via Twitter.

The second presentation, titled "Searching for Malware", will be given at Defcon 18 at 11:00 a.m. PST, Saturday, July 31st. It explores two months worth of search data collected by Barracuda Networks looking for trends in malware distribution and the search engines that return the most results which point to malware distribution sites.

Finally, the Barracuda Labs 2010 Mid-year Security report will be available soon. You will be able to find it here

More information can be found on the Barracuda Labs website and on the Barracuda Blog.

Full Press Release:

Google Crowned “King of Malware” – Has Two Times More Malware than Bing, Yahoo! and Twitter Combined

Barracuda Labs Issues 2010 Midyear Security Report, Presents Findings at DefCON 18 and Security BSides Las Vegas
Campbell, Calif. (July 28, 2010) –– Barracuda Networks Inc., a leading provider of content security, data protection and application delivery solutions, today released its Barracuda Labs 2010 Midyear Security Report, revealing data from two key areas: search engine malware  and Twitter use and crime rate. The company is presenting this data at Security BSides Las Vegas and DefCON 18 this week in Las Vegas. The full report is available at the company’s security research portal at http://barracudalabs.com.

Searching for Malware
Barracuda Labs conducted a study across Bing, Google, Twitter and Yahoo!, over a roughly two-month period. The analysis reviews more than 25,000 trending topics and nearly 5.5 million search results. The purpose of the study was to analyze trending topics on popular search engines to understand the scope of the problem and to identify the types of topics used by malware distributors. The results will be presented at DefCON 18 on Saturday, July 31, at 11:00 a.m. PT, at the Riviera Hotel & Casino.

Key highlights from the search engine study include:

  • Overall, Google takes the crown for malware distribution – turning up more than twice the amount of malware as Bing, Twitter and Yahoo! combined when searches on popular trending topics were performed. Google presents at 69 percent; Yahoo! at 18 percent; Bing at 12 percent; and Twitter at one percent.
  • The average amount of time for a trending topic to appear on one of the major search engines after appearing on Twitter varies tremendously: 1.2 days for Google, 4.3 days for Bing, and 4.8 days for Yahoo!
  • Over half of the malware found was between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. GMT.
  • The top 10 terms used by malware distributors include the name of a NFL player, three actresses, a Playboy Playmate and a college student who faked his way into Harvard.

The Darkside of Twitter
Barracuda Labs analyzed more than 25 million Twitter accounts, both legitimate and malicious. The purpose of this part of the study was to measure and analyze account behavior on Twitter in order to model normal user behavior and identify features that are strong indicators of illegitimate account use. The study reviews several key areas including True Twitter Users1, Twitter Crime Rate2, and Tweet Number3. The results will be presented at Security Bsides Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 28, at 3:00 p.m. PT, at the 2810 Resort.

Key highlights from the Twitter research include:

  • In general, activity is increasing on Twitter: more users are coming online; True Twitter Users are tweeting more often, and even casual users are becoming more active. As users become more active, the malicious activity also increases.
  • Only 28.87 percent of Twitter users are actual True Twitter Users.
  • Half of Twitter users tweet less than once a day, yet one in 10 users tweet five or more times a day and 30 percent of Twitter accounts have never tweeted.
  • One in every eight Twitter users has at least 10 times more followers than they are following.
  • Only one in 10 users is following more than 100 users, and almost half are following less than five.
  • The Twitter Crime Rate for the first half of 2010 was 1.67 percent.

To review the complete Barracuda Labs 2010 Midyear Security Report and the company’s security portal, please visit http://barracudalabs.com.

About Barracuda Networks Inc.
Barracuda Networks Inc. combines premises-based gateways and software, virtual appliances, cloud services, and sophisticated remote support to deliver comprehensive content security, data protection and application delivery solutions.  The company’s expansive product portfolio includes offerings for protection against email, Web and IM threats as well as products that improve application delivery and network access, message archiving, backup and data protection. Coca-Cola, FedEx, Harvard University, IBM, L'Oreal, and Europcar are among the more than 100,000 organizations protecting their IT infrastructures with Barracuda Networks’ range of affordable, easy-to-deploy and manage solutions.  Barracuda Networks is privately held with its International headquarters in Campbell, Calif.  For more information, please visit www.barracudanetworks.com.

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Resources:
Download the Barracuda Labs 2010 Midyear Security Report at http://www.barracudalabs.com/research_resources.html.
View the Barracuda Labs security research portal at http://BarracudaLabs.com.
Follow Barracuda Labs on Twitter at @barracudalabs.

Footnotes:
1 – ‘True Twitter User’ is defined as a user that has at least (≥) 10 followers, follows at least (≥) 10 people, and has tweeted at least (≥) 10 times.
2 – ‘Twitter Crime Rate’ is defined as the percentage of accounts created per month that were eventually suspended for malicious or suspicious activity, or otherwise misused.
3 – ‘Tweet Number’ is defined as a user’s average number of tweets per day.
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