Users browsing the Internet face an average of 108 035 cyber-attacks per hour – or 1 800 a minute. In total, cybercriminals used 4,073-million domains to launch web attacks in 2011.

These statistics were generated using Kaspersky Lab’s KSN cloud threat monitoring system based on last year’s results.

The Internet is the main entry point for malware on any computer. And increasingly it is entertainment sites, rather than “adult” resources, which carry the greatest risks of potential infection.

Kaspersky Lab analysed the resources which housed the most malicious links and found that entertainment websites with video content were the most dangerous (31% of malicious links). Search engines came second — occasionally, users follow malicious links directly from the results pages returned by major search systems (22% of links are potentially dangerous). Social networks are slightly behind on 21%. Sites with adult content and advertising networks came fourth and fifth respectively.

“Cybercriminals actively use different kinds of legitimate sites to distribute their ‘creations’. To do this they set up pages on social networks to lure their victims, distribute spam in personal messages and actively comment on popular videos and similar postings, including links to malware in their messages,” explains Yury Namestnikov, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

As a result, last year approximately 30% of users in South Africa encountered detections by antivirus software. However, the risk posed by malware can be considerably reduced if the key rules of Internet safety are followed – don’t follow links in messages received from unknown senders, always check the authenticity of a web address in the browser bar before inserting personal information and only use licensed software.