Google Outperforms Bing and Others in Blocking Malware

April 19, 2013

Oh, my. PCMag declares, “Bing Delivers Five Times as Many Malicious Websites as Google.” The charges stem from an 18-month study [PDF] by security firm AV-Test. Google emerged as the safest Internet search option, with Yandex and Bing the worst offenders (in that order), in a field that also included Blekko, Faroo, Teoma, and Baidu.

Though all of these engines take measures to keep malware-infested sites out of their top rankings, the villains make headway using methods perfected by others. Writer Max Eddy explains:

“To move their malware-ridden spawn to the top of Google’s search results, the bad guys are using tried and true search engine optimization tactics—the very same used by corporations and bloggers. According to AV-Test, the attackers use a very simple trick, ‘they first create a multitude of small websites and blogs before selecting the most frequently used search terms from top news stories and using backlinks to optimise these terms for search engines.’

“The study went on to say that users ‘are the least suspicious’ when they see a search result attached to a hot news story. More troublingly, AV-Test reports that sites with Trojans or other malware are returned as ‘top’ results.”

If these results are accurate, we wonder whether a shift to a “walled garden” approach to the Internet might be a solution. The article does note that, whichever search engine you use, your chances of suffering a malware attack through it are slim. Still, it is wise to be careful what you click on, even in top results from trusted search engines. Eddy also recommends a measure many of us wouldn’t leave our routers without—security software. Even the anti-malware measures in the latest browsers, he says, can help.

Cynthia Murrell, April 19, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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