Editorial Notebook: Time to Be Afraid of the Web?

Internet users used to comfort themselves by thinking that to become victims of the pirates of the Web, they had to frequent the online porn circuit or respond to an e-mail from the widowed wife of the former central bank governor of Nigeria. The idea was that one had to do something naughty to get caught in the wrongdoers’ net, or at least go for a late-night stroll in the rough end of town.But the conceit has become untenable. Two years ago, engineers at Google reported that about 10 percent of millions of Web pages they analyzed engaged in “drive-by downloads” of malware. Google today has about 330,000 Web sites listed as malicious, up from about 150,000 a year ago.

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