Hackers are exploiting free personal web hosting sites to store and spread malicious code and spyware, internet security experts have warned.
The new alert follows warnings earlier this year that blogging accounts were being used to store malcode. But the trend has spread to sites hosting online journals, photo albums, greeting cards, music, sports fan pages and online scrapbooks, employee internet management firm Websense said.
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Hackers are exploiting the sites because they offer cheap and anonymous ways to store and distribute mobile malicious code and dangerous spyware, such as keyloggers designed to steal personal information.
Dan Hubbard, senior director of security and technology research for Websense, said: “The growth of this trend is alarming. July has seen a major boom — in the first two weeks alone we found more instances than in May and June combined.”
Websense said it had uncovered more than 2,500 incidents of the free hosting sites distributing mobile malicious code, Trojan horses and keyloggers since the beginning of the year.
In one case, a site included a greeting card message accompanied by music that plays while the user’s computer is being infected with spyware.