Search Engines Can Spread Malware

Search-Engine-MalwareMalware can be a very concerning issue in today’s Internet-driven society. Our Internet marketing firm knows there are hackers all over the world who are designing programs that have the potential to infiltrate your computer or mobile internet device and extract valuable information that can aid them to steal your identity. Popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are common targets for malware because they receive a lot of traffic from common Internet users. If a hacker has a malware program that can be implemented into a search engine’s results pages, it could potentially reach millions of users.

The Worst Search Engine for Malware

Barracuda Labs conducted a study to see what search engines were more prone to being attacked by hackers who were looking to spread malware to internet users. The studied consisted of analyzing 25,000 trending topics used by over 5.5 million users on 4 different sites (Google, Yahoo, and Twitter) in 2010. The study has shown that Google attracts well over twice the amount of malware than any of the other sites combined.

Overall, Google collected 69% of the malware that was detected during the study. Yahoo only attracted 18%, Bing accounted for 12% and Twitter had only 1%. The amount of time it took these sites to index their trending topics, so that they appeared on search results pages also was different, which could be a very significant reason why they are receiving either higher or lower malware amounts. Google’s trending topics would appear on their search results only 1.2 days after they make their debut on social media forums like Twitter. It would take Yahoo and Bing a little over 4 days to index a trending topic and make it visible for search users on their results pages.

The Trends of Malware

About half of the malware discovered on the sites were found between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. The most common trending topics that were targeted for malware were the name of a player in the NFL, a Playboy Playmate, three different actress’ names and the name of a college student that faked their way into Harvard. To better protect its users, it looks as though Google is going to have to better protect itself from malware attacks that could be spread through searches. Granted, Google also accumulates a significant amount more search traffic than the other websites used in the study, but this type of traffic warrants more responsibility with your user’s vital information.

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