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Google records 700,000 hijacking breaches in a year

CNBC CNBC 21/04/2016 Jessica Hartogs

   © Provided by CNBC    Over 700,000 websites were breached between June 2014 and July 2015, according to a new study by Google and the University of California, Berkeley, which aims to improve web security. 

The research showed that "miscreants" had routinely hijacked thousands of vulnerable web servers for "cheap hosting and traffic acquisition". Google recorded 760,935 "hijacking incidents" within the period but said that its direct communication with webmasters had curbed the amount of breaches.

Google's Safe Browsing Alerts work by sending notifications to network administrators when harmful URLs are detected on their networks. It said that these had increased the likelihood of a "cleanup" by over 50 percent and reduced "infection lengths" by at least 62 percent. 

WordPress - which powers more than a quarter of all websites, according to The Next Web which first reported the story - topped the chart of platforms that experienced the most breaches. The platform accounted for almost half of all attacks, according to Google's research.

Attacks were primarily conducted on websites run in English, with attacks on Chinese, German, Japanese and Russian language websites following closely behind.

Google currently monitors approximately 40 percent of all active networks on the web, the tech publication said.

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