Rise in devices contracting viruses due to porn consumption

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 27 February, 2018, 08:49

Nearly one third of adults have seen a digital virus infect their computers following browsing the web for adult content.

Research from global cybersecurity experts Kaspersky found that the average Briton looks at adult content five times a week, with a fifth (20 per cent) using their work device to access porn.

And a quarter of those surveyed said they hadn’t realised that smartphones and tablets could get infected.

This is one of the many misconceptions about computer health - one fifth of respondents (19 per cent) thought they were safe using their web browser in private mode, while 28 per cent believed their computers were safe from viruses if they cleared their browsing history.

Inevitably, any embarrassment caused by catching a digital virus is multiplied if the reason becomes known to others. So, 18 per cent of those surveyed admitted to lying about contracting a digital virus because they believed it may have come from browsing an adult website.

And one fifth revealed they had been caught red handed looking at adult content by a friend, family member or partner.

David Jacoby, Security Evangelist and spokesperson for Kaspersky Lab, said: “British adults are being caught with their pants down when it comes to online safe surfing with many not using any form of cyber contraception.

“In 2017 we identified at least 27 variations of PC malware which specifically hunt for credentials to paid adult content websites. Adult sites are attractive to cyber criminals because they have a vast number of users to potentially infect and those users are less likely to report the infection due to the embarrassing nature of how they got the infection.”

Kaspersky Lab has compiled a top 10 digital STIs that can harm your device when you’re looking at adult content:

Trojans – They might masquerade as innocent programs, but they carry a harmful payloadDrive-by downloads - Drive-by downloads are a common method of spreading malware. Cybercriminals look for insecure web sites and plant a malicious script into the code on the pages: they take advantage of any unpatched applications on your computer, infecting you automatically when you visit the site, unless you’veClick-jacking – Click-jacking involves tricking someone into clicking on one object on a web page while they think they are clicking on another. Clickjacking could be used to install malware, to gain access to one of the victim’s online accounts, or to enable the victim’s webcam.Tinder bots – Automatic programs that are designed to masquerade as real people on a dating site and try to lure people into clicking on them, with the aim of tricking the victim into disclosing confidential data.Cat-Phishing - Cybercriminals posing on dating sites or chat rooms, encouraging people to click on links for live sex chat or adult imagesRansomware - Cybercriminals use ‘blockers’ to stop the victim accessing their device, often telling the victim that this is due to ‘illegal pornographic content’ being identified on their device – anyone who has accessed porn online is probably less likely to take the matter up with law enforcementWorm - a program that replicates, but does not write its code to other files: instead, it installs itself once on a victim’s device and then looks for a way to spread to other devicesPornware – could be a legitimate program, but might be adware installed by another malicious program, designed to deliver inappropriate content to the victim’s deviceSpyware - software that enables an attacker to secretly obtain information about the victim’s online activities and transmit it covertly from their deviceFake Anti-virus - Fake anti-virus programs prey on people’s fear of malicious software which they believe may have been installed whilst looking at porn

Top ten most commonly misheld beliefs for keeping computers clear of Digital STIs whilst surfing adult websites:

Clearing your browsing history protects your computer from viruses – 50%Apple Mac computers can’t get viruses – only PCs can get infected – 46%Pop-ups saying you have a virus on your computer mean you have a virus on your computer – 41%Porn sites are inherently more dangerous for contracting viruses – 39%Having a general firewall on your computer will prevent you from all viruses – 38%Using your browser in private mode (e.g.: Google Incognito) stops your computer from getting infected – 38%Avoid infections by accessing adult sites on your smart phone or tablet – 34%Your computer will always show symptoms if it is infected – 34%You have to be asked to download a file to be at risk of a virus – 32%If you contract a virus, copying your files to a backup drive, re-installing Windows and copying them back, erases the virus – 28%