- (Photo: Reuters/Will Burgess)
Religious websites might now actually be more of a threat to believers than pornographic pages.
Well, at least for their computers.
Internet surfers viewing websites with religious content are more likely to receive a virus from a religious page than they would from looking at a site with pornographic material, according to a recent study by U.S.-based anti-virus vendor Symantec.
The company reported that hackers perform "drive-by attacks" on religious websites where they booby-trap them with malicious code.
These faith-based sites were found to have triple the average number of "threats" than those with pornographic content, according to Symantec's data.
"It is interesting to note that websites hosting adult/pornographic content are not in the top five, but ranked tenth," said the company the report.
"We hypothesize that this is because pornographic website owners already make money from the Internet and, as a result, have a vested interest in keeping their sites malware-free; it's not good for repeat business," Symantec added.
The report was based on data collected last year by the Symantec Global Intelligence Network, which monitors the activity of hackers in over 200 countries worldwide.
The company stated that it blocked 5.5 billion cyber attacks in 2011. This showed an 81 percent increase from the previous year.
Symantec also reported that the attacks on other internet ready devices such as smartphones and tablet computers have increased. The company also has seen a surge in attacks towards companies and government agencies.
Religious websites have been a target for those holding opposing views.
Earlier this year, a group of hackers known as "Anonymous" took down three church websites on March 2, replacing their main pages with a clip from evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins and posted a statement that branded all religion as a "sickness."