Security

Search engines safety: McAfee updates report


How safe are the links that your favorite search engine fetches? A study conducted by McAfee's SiteAdvisor service can help you find the answer. Releasing an update to its report on "Safety of search engines," the Santa Clara, California-based security company stated that the overall safety risk to search engine users has come down (though marginally).

Excerpt from a detailed report on earthtimes.org:

"McAfee studied the five major United States search engines -- Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Ask -- which account for 93 percent of all search engine use. To conduct the study, McAfee analyzed the first 50 search results returned by each search engine for 2,300 popular keywords. The keywords were selected from lists like Google Zeitgeist and Yahoo! Buzz, among other industry sources. Each result was compared to McAfee SiteAdvisor's Web safety database of 8.2 million site safety ratings. Red ratings are assigned to sites found to offer adware, spyware, viruses, exploits, spammy e-mail, excessive pop-ups or strong affiliations with other red sites. Yellow ratings are given to sites which merit some caution before use. The data for the study was analyzed in May 2007. The study was co-authored by Ben Edelman, noted spyware researcher and an advisor to McAfee SiteAdvisor."

Major spotlights include:

  • About 4 percent of search results from any engine lead to sites deemed risky, that's down from 5 percent a year ago
  • Sponsored results significantly more risky than non-sponsored results
  • Dangerous search terms - "screensavers," "Digital music," "tech toys," "chat," and "wallpaper." And file sharing lingo like "Bearshare," "limewire," "kazaa," and "winmix."
  • Scam sites constitute 3.2 percent of all sponsored listings

The full report is available at McAfee's SiteAdvisor.

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5 comments
btljooz
btljooz

This is but ONE example but it's enough to make MA's SA [i]questionable[/i] at best. http://p2pnet.net/story/12412

pr.arun
pr.arun

Its true that no study or analysis can be squeaky clean. But I believe its whether the over-all study can prove relevant or not and not be way off target.

markinct
markinct

Don't take anything you do on-line lightly. Caveat Clicker...

apotheon
apotheon

I'm in complete agreement with you. The results of McAfee's study pretty much exactly matched my expectations, with the exception of the fact that I didn't expect AOL's search engine to do so well. It must have improved a [b]lot[/b] over the last few years, because there was a time not long ago that AOL was the script kiddies' playground. Ultimately, however, I don't really trust [b]any[/b] search engine with my security. My trust is in my systems, and my security configurations and procedures. Trusting some external corporate entity with my security the way this study suggests I might is just a recipe for disaster. "Caveat clicker." I may have to quot you in my list of signatures that are randomly chosen for sig blocks when I send emails.

pr.arun
pr.arun

How has been your experience with particular search terms on the net ?

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