New Attack Compromises Fully-Patched IE Browsers

A new security hole in Internet Explorer exploit allows hackers to gain control of a user's computer when they click on a hyperlink, even while using a fully-patched version of IE6. An exploit using the technique, which employs a complex series of Javascript, VBScript and PHP code, has been published on the Web and is being discussed in several security mailing lists.

The attack splices together multiple weaknesses in Internet Explorer, including at least one known but unpatched flaw and several new ones. The scripting cocktail tricks the browser into running code from a remote web server as though it were a local help file, and can then install a trojan of the attacker's choice on the compromised system.

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Symantec: New Virus Deletes All Files

The virus that "deletes your whole hard drive" has been a staple in dozens of e-mail hoaxes that have circulated the Net in recent years. In the real world, such viruses are few and far between. According to Symantec, the new VBS.Pub is just such a beast.

The malware targets Windows computers, and arrives in an email bearing the subject "Re" and an attachment that will have an .asp, .hta, .htm, .htt, .html, .vbe or .vbs extension. Upon infection, the virus uses Microsoft Outlook to send itself to everyone in the Microsoft Outlook Address Book. "If the day is the 6th, 13th, 21st, or 28th, the worm will delete all the files from the computer," Symantec reports. Despite its nasty payload, SANS notes that VBS.Pub "doesn't possess any earth-shattering characteristics to make it a significant propagation threat."

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Nearly 2.5 Million Active Sites running FreeBSD

FreeBSD is often overlooked when people discuss the relative success of the rival operating system platforms in use on the Internet. However, it has a secured a strong foothold with the hosting community and continues to grow, gaining over a million hostnames and half a million active sites since July 2003.

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Top FreeBSD Hosting Providers - June 2004
Hosting
Provider
Active Sites
Yahoo 266,835
NTT/Verio 175,719
SAVVIS Communications 100,377
Datasync 90,324
Pair.com 82,019
iPowerWeb 81,509

The reason for this is FreeBSD’s deployment with the operators of shared hosting systems, where tens and even hundreds of thousands of sites are collectively administered as part of a single system. FreeBSD has been synonymous with large scale shared hosting since the genesis of the web, and continues a symbiotic relationship with the largest hosting companies today.

Over half of the FreeBSD active sites are at the largest 20 hosting providers using FreeBSD, and much of the surge in FreeBSD sites over the last year has been caused by the continued growth of Yahoo!’s shared hosting offering. Yahoo has strong ties with the FreeBSD project and provides hosting for the project's servers. while Pair Networks recently led the contributors with a substantial $20,000 when one of the FreeBSD core team offered to work full time on the project as its first commercially funded developer.

Strong Growth for European Providers during May

May was a good month for European providers, who occupy three of the top four spots in our monthly roundup of the fastest-growing hosting companies. Go Daddy led all providers with a net gain of 170k hostnames, followed by 1&1 Internet, France's Gandi, and Germany's Tect AG.

Top Hosting Providers By Hostname Growth, May 04 to June 04
Hosting Company May 04 June 04 Growth %
Growth
Primary
Region
GoDaddy Inc 2,163,143 2,333,977 170,834 7.9% Americas
1&1 Internet AG 3,858,585 3,995,363 136,778 3.5% Europe
Gandi 73,111 144,619 71,508 97.8% Europe
Tect AG 2,086,486 2,153,031 66,545 3.2% Europe
CalPop Inc. 48,298 109,996 61,698 127.7% Americas
Datasync 444,028 503,297 59,269 13.3% Americas
eNom 805,611 861,105 55,494 6.9% Americas
The Planet 292,451 346,633 54,182 18.5% Americas
EV1Servers 779,907 805,770 25,863 3.3% Americas
NTT/Verio 1,071,346 1,095,968 24,622 2.3% Americas

German hosting giant 1&1 Internet is set to exceed 4 million web sites within the next month, with most of its gains coming through new customers, as opposed to those switching from other providers. As a result, 1&1's strong entry into the U.S. market hasn't drained customers from other providers, as some American hosts had feared. During May, 1&1's schlund.us unit had a net gain of 29k hostnames, of which 26k were "new" hostnames not previously found in our survey. No U.S. provider had more than 400 hostnames switch away to 1&1 last month.

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XML gets down to business

XML is perhaps one of the Internet's greatest unrecognised success stories. The first draft of the XML standard dates back only to 1996, and was born out of an attempt to marry the simplicity of HTML with the power of Standard Generalised Markup Language (SGML). It has rapidly moved centre-stage, to the point where most of the initiatives in the W3C A to Z list on its home page are based around XML - even HTML has been re-cast as XHTML.

But XML is more than just an exercise in re-packaging. Since its creation, the scope of XML has widened enormously, and now encompasses a number of major ancillary projects that address deeper technical issues well beyond simply tagging data more intelligently - XML's starting point. For example, the eXtensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) family - XSL Transformations (XSLT), XML Path Language (XPath) and XSL Formatting Objects (XSL-FO) - is concerned with the presentation side of XML documents: converting them into HTML for display in a browser is one obvious application.

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June 2004 Web Server Survey

In the June 2004 survey we received responses from 51,635,284 sites.

Although web server market share has been relatively stable in recent months, the web is again growing very rapidly both in absolute terms and in terms of active sites hosting distinct content. As measured by hostnames, the Internet has grown 26.1 percent over the past 12 months, adding 10.7 million since the June 2003 survey. That's the strongest period of sustained growth since the boom era of Feb. 2000-2001, during which the Web added 16.9 million hostnames. Thus far in 2004, the net gain has averaged nearly 1 million per month.

Total Sites Across All Domains August 1995 - June 2004

Total Sites Across All Domains, August 1995 - June 2004

The surge in hostnames and active sites has been accompanied by robust growth in the use of the Internet for business. The number of servers using Secure Sockets Layer encryption has grown 56.7 percent in the most recent 12-month period (April 2003 to April 2004), according to our Secure Server Survey. More than 300,000 servers are now using valid third-party SSL certificates, which provide encryption for online banking, retail sales, e-commerce and the secure information exchange.

Market Share for Top Servers Across All Domains August 1995 - June 2004

Graph of market share for top servers across all domains, August 1995 - June 2004

Top Developers
Developer May 2004Percent June 2004Percent Change
Apache3389281767.053471023567.220.17
Microsoft1085816821.481102180721.35-0.13
Sun16444123.2516599563.21-0.04
Zeus7540141.497631521.48-0.01

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