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AV-Test: Bing search results bring up more malware links than Google


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The security firm AV-Test says the results of a new study of search engines shows Microsoft's Bing generates five times as many malware-based links in its top results than Google.

When you search for something on Google or Bing, you expect the links from the top search results to be free of any issues. However, a new study claims that Bing manages to offer five times as many links as Google in its top results that lead to malware-infected websites.

The numbers come from the well known German-based security firm AV-Test, which released their look at Windows 8-based anti-virus programs last week. This new search engine survey was conducted over 18 months, between August 2011 and February 2013, with AV-Test claiming they looked at 40 million websites that came up when using Bing and Google. Search engines Yandex, Blekko, Faroo, Teoma and Baidu were also tested.


Malware operators use search engine optimization techniques to get their infected websites in the top search results. AV-Test says:

The trick used by these criminals is actually very simple: 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 optimize these terms for search engines.

AV-Test does admit that the overall percentage of infected websites from search engine results are small. However, their chart indicates that while searching on Google brought up just 272 malware web sites out of 10.91 million links, Microsoft's Bing had 1,285 infected websites out of 10.95 million search results.

The moral of this story? While the amount of infected links from search engine results are tiny, they may still be present and Internet users should always be cautious when clicking on a link generated from a search engine that they are not familiar with.

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The infected websites mostly use malware that exploits existing security vulnerabilities in users software. These vulnerabilities normally involve outdated browsers, old add-ons or extensions and out-of-date versions of PDF readers. Users can drastically reduce the likelihood of infection by keeping the software on their systems up to date. They can also guarantee that they have the best possible protection by additionally using high-quality security software that is constantly updated.

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