IT security and data protection firm, Sophos, has announced that it has entered into an agreement with bit.ly, a utility used to shorten, share and track links, to assist them in protecting users against visiting webpages that may contain a malware, spam or phishing threats.
According to SophosLabs, 23 500 new infected webpages are discovered every day – four times worse than in 2007. Organisations have become increasingly concerned about the rise in malicious attacks taking place via social networking sites, as well as the risks of users revealing sensitive personal or corporate data online.
Over a third of social networking users report that they have been spammed via social networking sites, and more than 20% reporting that they have been the target of malware – with cybercriminals often using shortened links to disguise their attacks.
"bit.ly is committed to protecting its users from spam and malware," says Andew Cohen, general manager at bit.ly. "Services like Sophos are an important part of building trust."
bit.ly currently filters all links through several independent services to check for spam, suspected phishing scams, malware, and other objectionable content. It also enables users to preview any page by adding a "+" to the end of a bit.ly URL. Given the rapidly growing use of bit.ly on the web, and specifically on micro-blogging sites such as Facebook, Twitter, CNN, twitterfeed, there is a danger that cybercriminals could try to exploit bit.ly links in order to infect users.
bit.ly has partnered with Sophos to provide:
* Unparalleled visibility of infected websites through Sophos’s combination of virus/malicious behaviour detection, search engine partnerships and anti-spam honeypots, which constantly trawl the web and scan email traffic to find newly infected sites and trace them back to the malicious hosting sites.
* Behavioural scanning of the content of webpages to dynamically identify new malware; keeping Sophos one step ahead of the malware authors and their attempts to get past traditional anti-virus software by constantly modifying their malicious code.
"Web 2.0 sites allow users and communities to share links with each other faster and with greater flexibility than ever before – but hackers can also take advantage of the rapid exchange of information to spread malware and phishing threats," said Rainer Gawlick, Chief Marketing Officer at Sophos. "bit.ly is showing it is a responsible member of the internet community by looking to Sophos and other security specialists to better protect its huge user base."