CUPERTINO, Calif.—Computer security firm Symantec has identified the "Dirtiest Web Sites of Summer 2009," which could be a threat to web surfers.
The information is presented as a chart and features 100 sites with the most threats detected by site ratings service Norton Safe Web, as of August 2009.
In a press release, Symantec said these sites represent the "worst of the worst" based on the number of threats detected by Norton Safe Web.
Nearly half the list—48 percent—are sites that feature adult content. As TimesOnline.com notes, just a search using the keywords "young", "anal," "sexy" and "porn" could give you more than you bargained for, such as computer versions of STDs, or worse, in the form of these dangerous sites.
But any subject or topic is game for these surreptitious sites, including deer hunting, catering, figure skating, legal services and purchasing electronics. Malware is the most common threat, followed by security risks and browser exploits.
Just visiting one of these sites, without downloading or clicking on anything in particular, could expose a computer to risk of infection, and worse, putting identity, personal and financial information into the hands of cybercriminals, Symantec said.
"This list underscores what our research shows — there has been exponential growth in the number of online threats that are constantly evolving as cybercriminals look for new ways to target your money, identity or assets. In 2008, most new infections occurred while people were surfing the Web(1)," said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president of Consumer Business Unit, Symantec.
"Norton Safe Web provides visual ratings that let consumers know about potential risks before visiting a site. Armed with this information, consumers are empowered to make informed decisions about which sites to visit."
The average number of threats per malicious site, rated by Norton Safe Web. is 23. The average number of threats on the Dirtiest Web Sites list is a mind-boggling 18,000 per site.
Also, 40 of the 100 sites have more than 20,000 threats per site. Being "dirty" is nothing new for 75 percent of sites on the list, which have distributed malware for more than six months.
According to the report, the U.S. hosts the most of these cybercrime sites, with Europe, especially the Netherlands and Denmark, as well as Russia, also being problem nations.
To view the, list, join the Norton Safe Web Community.