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SPONSORED BLOG: Maliciousness in top-ranked Alexa domains

Paul Royal | July 16, 2012
Automated examination of Alexa’s most popular domains found many sites serving drive-by download exploits.

In addition to our statistical analysis used to estimate the number of users compromised by visiting Alexa top-ranked domains that served malicious content, we offer the following summary observations:

  • On average, two of the Alexa top 25,000 domains serve malicious content each day. Statistically, that means at least one popular website will serve malicious content every day.
  • Alexa top-ranked domains served malicious content 23 (or 79 percent) of the days in February. That means this problem is not isolated and occurs on a continuous, regular basis.
  • Alexa top-ranked domains that served malicious content spanned across 18 different countries. That means this problem has no geographic barrier.
  • Over 97 percent of sites that served visitors malicious content were at least one year old; over half were on sites more than five years old. That means attackers use well-established, long-lived websites for their drive-by download campaigns.

Paul Royal is research consultant with Barracuda Labs. 

For the infographic associated with this post, see

For more information on how to protect your network please go to



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