Another question inspired by a recent discussion in the 'The DMZ' chatroom.
Long story short: IT guys are worried that accountants' workstations may become compromised because accountants watch cat meme websites. Proposed solution: Lock down the devices used by accountants so that they may not watch cat meme websites.
Are cat meme websites inherently dangerous?
I've heard anecdotes about compromised wesbites of local parishes installing malware on visitors' computers in a drive-by-download fashion. Then is there such a thing as a website that is not inherently dangerous?
I don't really know what accountants need to do their work. But if the development workstation used to author and compile the software then used by accountants is compromised then the devices used by accountants are compromised as well. And, from my experience, access to internet is very helpful when making software. Not (only 😉) for two minutes of relief by dropping to a cat meme website and then immediately back to work:
Yes - most often I end up on StackExchange or on other 'well known' (and therefore (relatively?) safe?) forum. But not exclusively, sometimes I do end up on a forum I've never seen before. Also, who hasn't ever been redirected to a malicious website from a legitimate (but compromised?) one?
Also, is StackExchange indeed 'safe'? To play a devil's advocate: This is a forum for technical people. Statistically speaking it is more likely that visitors of StackExchange will be able to pull off an XSS attack or something against other visitors of the website than visitors of a cat meme site.
Perhaps this was naivety on my side, but I usually thought that browsing the web is (supposed to be?) a relatively safe thing to do (barring stupidities such as downloading & running cracks). But now I hear that a machine is untrusted solely by virtue of having been used to watch a cat meme?
In that case is the only solution to lock all machines used for professional purposes so tightly that only select few websites absolutely necessary to do one's job are accessible? But won't doing so harm employee productivity very badly? (As it is sometimes useful to browse the web for a solution to a work related problem)?
Realistically, how likely are cat meme websites to compromise a machine?