malware Study shows using Bing or Yandex increases chances of picking up malware

AV-Test, which is an independent Internet security group, says that the search engine Bing and Russia’s Yandex are far more likely to send a person to a malicious website than most other search engines available.

Of all the search engines based in the U.S., it seems that Microsoft’s Bing is five times more likely to get your computer infected from a link given to a malicious website.  The data comes from AV-Test, which is an independent IT-security group based out of Germany – the data results from the study was recently published on-line (PDF file link).

AV-Test said that while many search engines were still good at keeping visitors away from maliciously coded websites, many still turned up the bad sites in their top results.  

The group studied approximately 40 million public websites found through seven of the top search engines.  Of those search engines, about one-half were split between Google and Bing, 13 million were provided by the Russian-based Yandex and the rest were from Baidu, Blekko, Faroo and Teoma. 

Of the 40 million websites that were searched, the study shows that Google was by far the safest to trust, followed by Bing.  However, Bing did return about five times more sites infected with malware.  Even so, it is important to point out that while Bing may have given five times more sites infected with malware, the number of infections were still very low over all. 

Of the 40 million sites visited, AV-Test said they found only about 5 thousand sites to be infected with malware.  The Russian-based Yandex returned 10 times as many sites infected with 3,300 malicious website links.  Bing retuned 1,285 out of the 10 million sites reviewed and Google had the lowest of all with 272 hits for maliciously coded websites. 

The report reads in part,

When fed into calculations, this result only leads to a small overall percentage of infected websites. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that Google alone deals with a phenomenal total of 2 to 3 billion search requests worldwide every day. If this total is factored into the calculations, the total number of websites containing malware found by the search engine is enough to make your head spin!

Those that are making the infected websites do so, very cleverly, by creating a legitimate looking blog site or by first making numerous small websites.  Once the site is set up they add the most frequently searched terms embedded in the site from top news stories using backlinks.  Users feel safe seeing current news stories, and they never suspect that the site might infect their computer with malware.