Netcraft Extension adds protection against malicious JavaScript

Netcraft has updated its browser extension to add protection against malicious JavaScript, including shopping site skimmers and web miners.

The Netcraft Extension now protects against malicious JavaScript

The Netcraft Extension now protects against malicious JavaScript

Shopping site skimmers are malicious JavaScript programs that steal your payment card information when you checkout on a compromised online store, and send it back to a fraudster to use later. These attacks have affected a large number of online shops, and are invisible to even the most vigilant shoppers as there is no visual change to the page.

Web miners are malicious JavaScript programs inserted by fraudsters into a website that let them steal your CPU power to mine for cryptocurrency using your browser without your consent. Browsing a website with a web miner can often slow down your computer by consuming its resources.

Netcraft proactively scans for new shopping site skimmers, web miners, and other malicious JavaScript on the web. In the past six months, we have found malicious JavaScript affecting over 70,000 sites on over 29,000 distinct IPs. We have identified these attacks on high-profile sites such as Cleor (a large French jewellery retailer), Misfit (a wearable devices brand), and Arctic (a PC components and accessories retailer), as well as on the personalized merchandise stores for dozens of sports clubs, including Southampton's and Swansea's.

A well-hidden shopping site skimmer

A well-hidden shopping site skimmer

By using the Netcraft Extension you can get protection from these types of attack as soon as we detect them. It was first made available for Internet Explorer in 2004, Firefox in 2005, Chrome in 2012, Opera in 2013, and Microsoft Edge earlier this year.

Select your browser to download the Netcraft Extension now:

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If you already have the Netcraft Extension installed your browser will update it automatically.

The Netcraft app for Android also provides protection against these attacks, while the Netcraft app for iOS provides protection against phishing attacks.

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August 2019 Web Server Survey

In the August 2019 survey we received responses from 1,271,920,923 sites across 239,441,736 unique domain names and 8,948,887 web-facing computers. This reflects a large loss of 124 million sites, but a gain of 1.30 million domains and 10,700 computers.

All major vendors lost active sites this month, and of those, only Google made a gain in sites (+1.58 million). Microsoft lost the largest number of active sites (-2.03 million), while nginx lost the most sites (-81.4 million, -16.9%) but remains in the lead with a 31.6% share of all sites.

Despite losing so many sites, nginx showed the strongest growth in unique domains, web-facing computers, and among the top million sites. This bears more significance than the more unpredictable changes in the site counts, which are prone to fluctuations month-on-month as link farms, spam networks and other low-value web content comes and goes.

With a gain of 58,500 web-facing computers, nginx now has more than 31% of the computer market share – just 5.39 percentage points behind Apache – while Microsoft has lost 65,000 computers. As is evident in the graphs, counting web-facing computers provides the most stable metric and makes long term trends easy to spot. In particular, the clear and consistent rise in nginx's market share and the steady decline of Apache makes it hard not to imagine nginx taking the market lead from Apache by early next year.

The number of top-million websites powered by nginx has increased by 1,292, while Apache's count fell by 3,101. Apache maintains the lead in this market, but is now only 5.92 percentage points ahead of nginx. Apache also continues to lead in terms of unique domains, despite losing 784,000 this month. It has a similar lead over nginx, which is now only 5.32 percentage points behind Apache after gaining 753,000 domains.

Microsoft lost counts in almost all metrics this month, apart from where it gained 166,000 domains, although this still resulted in a small drop in its domain market share. The sites market is the only one where its share did not fall, despite losing 16.6 million sites.

Netflix finds nginx vulnerabilities

nginx 1.61.1 stable and nginx 1.17.3 mainline were released on 13th August, in order to address three HTTP/2 security issues that could cause excessive memory consumption and CPU usage. All versions between 1.9.5 – 1.17.2 are affected, but only if HTTP/2 is enabled. These security issues were discovered by Jonathan Looney at Netflix, which chose to use nginx when developing its own globally distributed content delivery network, known as Netflix Open Connect.

The content delivery network consists of Open Connect Appliances, which run the FreeBSD operating system and use nginx to stream audio and video directly to Netflix customers. Most of this content is served from appliances hosted by ISPs, rather than across the internet, which leads to better performance whilst vastly reducing the amount of peered traffic when huge numbers of customers worldwide stream a popular show at the same time. Thousands of ISPs have enthusiastically participated in this program because it is free to connect to the Open Connect network, and it prevents Netflix traffic from taking up a significant amount of an ISP's internet capacity.

FreeBSD is dying?!

Netflix chose FreeBSD for its balance of stability and features (as did Netcraft once upon a time), but it is becoming an increasingly less common frontend operating system on the web as a whole. Only 60,200 (0.67%) web-facing computers are running FreeBSD today. To put this into perspective, more than twice as many servers are still running Windows Server 2003, even though it has not been supported for several years.

Linux is by far the most commonly used operating system for web-facing computers. It is installed on 6.64 million (74.2%) servers, and at least 1.05 million of these can be positively identified as running the Ubuntu distribution.

Naturally, the choice of operating system depends to some extent on what type of web server will be running on it, and vice versa. For example, it is no surprise that most instances of Microsoft IIS can be found running on Windows Server, and most instances of Windows Server are used to run Microsoft IIS; but it is clear that the Linux operating system is especially favoured for some web servers. Between 92% and 96% of all web-facing computers that use each of nginx, Apache, Litespeed and lighttpd can be found running Linux.

AWS ELB overtakes Beaver

The awselb (Amazon Web Services Elastic Load Balancing) web server was found on 69,800 web-facing computers this month, overtaking Beaver to become the fourth most commonly used frontend server by computers. Practically all of these machines appear to be running Linux, and are responsible for hosting 464,000 sites across 48,500 unique domains.

ELB achieves fault tolerance and scalability by automatically distributing incoming application traffic across multiple targets – and can even spread it across multiple AWS Availability Zones – so the 69,800 AWS ELB servers exposed to the internet are likely to be only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the AWS infrastructure used by each website.

Total number of websites

Web server market share

DeveloperJuly 2019PercentAugust 2019PercentChange
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Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in July 2019

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
DNS Connect First
1 Rackspace Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.650 0.005 0.013 0.013
2 Bigstep Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.241 0.076 0.155 0.155
3 ServerStack Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.240 0.084 0.169 0.169
4 Pair Networks Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.343 0.093 0.186 0.186
5 Inc Linux 0:00:00 0.005 0.433 0.004 0.021 0.022
6 EveryCity SmartOS 0:00:00 0.005 0.236 0.074 0.377 0.378
7 CWCS Managed Hosting Linux 0:00:00 0.005 0.302 0.079 0.162 0.162
8 Swishmail FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.005 0.239 0.081 0.162 0.163
9 Hyve Managed Hosting Linux 0:00:00 0.005 0.174 0.083 0.167 0.167
10 Linux 0:00:00 0.005 0.294 0.096 0.191 0.191

See full table

In July 2019 Rackspace had the most reliable hosting company site, with no failed requests and an average connection time of 5ms. Rackspace offers a range of managed dedicated and cloud hosting solutions from data centres in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. In the past six months, Rackspace has had the most reliable hosting company site three times and been in the top 10 each month.

Bigstep, ServerStack and Pair Networks complete the top four, each responding to all of Netcraft's requests in July. These companies are therefore ranked by their average connection time. Bigstep offers "bare metal" cloud hosting to provide the flexibility of cloud hosting but without the associated overhead and performance reductions of virtualization.

The six sites that complete the top 10 each failed to respond to a single request by Netcraft in July. GoDaddy came in fifth place with the fastest average connection time among all monitored providers of 4ms.

SmartOS and FreeBSD each make an appearance in the top 10 but Linux continues to dominate, powering eight of the top 10 sites in July.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around twenty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.