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28 May 2009, 11:50

Study says searching for screensavers frequently leads to danger

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One of the conclusions McAfee comes to in its recent study "The Web's Most Danagerous Search Terms"PDF is that searching the internet for a screen saver is a pretty dangerous affair. Searching for screen savers, which with todays LCD monitors don't actually save the screen and consume power unnecessarily, on publicly available search engines will most likely to lead to sites which contain malware. About sixty per cent of the results from a search for "screensavers" lead to dangerous sites. In the UK, the most dangerous search terms are apparently "bebo" and "friv" and "hotmail". Overall, McAfee correlated over 2658 key words and phrases with 413,386 URLs.

Criminals take advantage of search engines to attract users to their sites and then infect the users PC by exploiting holes in the browser. To ensure that their sites are at the top of the search results, some criminals use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and in some cases Search Engine Marketing (SEM), actually paying for advertisements.

Besides the "screensaver" keyword, the study says that using the word "free" as a search term often leads to malicious pages. Of the search results for "free music downloads" on average 20.7 per cent of them lead to malicious sites. In general, a search for "lyrics" was found to be the most risky, while according to the report, searches for health terms had the lowest risk.


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