Illegal web sites on the rise

Security solutions specialist Internet Security Systems (ISS) has reported an increase of between 30 and 40 percent in extremist and illegal web content over the last twelve months.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  November 29, 2005

Security solutions specialist Internet Security Systems (ISS) has reported an increase of between 30 and 40 percent in extremist and illegal web content being uploaded over the last twelve months. The firm claims that the number of internet hosts making content such as bomb-making information available on web pages has risen to over 188,000 during this period, which equates to over 16 million individual web pages. At ISS’ data processing centre in Kassel, Germany, the company employs a thousand PCs to continuously crawl the internet identifying new web pages. The images, graphics and text from these internet offerings are analysed and classified. ISS then enters this content into a filter database. (With 60 million entries, ISS claims this makes it the most up-to-date, effective and powerful internet filter list in the world.) In terms of extreme and illegal web offerings, each page with undesirable content is classified into one of 60 subject categories such as home banking, online shopping and music, through to sport, weapons, extremist pages and job offers. The internet content that ISS includes in its ‘extremism’ and ‘illegal activities’ categories covers topics such as instructions on how to make weapons and bombs, hardcore pornography, satanism, occultism, suicide forums and pages about human cannibalism. Sites encouraging suicide or self-mutilation, violence, torture and so on are also included in these categories, as is any site inciting users to carry out illegal activities such as murder or arson. At the time of writing, no information is available that could detail which geographical regions are currently home to the largest number of extreme or illegal content uploaders.

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