Date: Friday, April 12th, 2013, 07:55
Well, this is a bit awkward.
Per PC Magazine, searches on Bing returned five times more links to malicious websites than Google searches, according to an 18-month study from German independent testing lab AV-Test. Though search engines have worked to suppress malicious results, the study concluded that malware-infested websites still appear in their top results.
The study looked at nearly 40 million websites provided by seven different search engines. About 10 million results came from Bing and another 10 million from Google. 13 million sites were provided by the Russian service Yandex, with the rest coming from Blekko, Faroo, Teoma and Baidu respectively. Of these 40 million sites, AV-Test found 5,000 pieces of malware—and admittedly small percentage of websites.
The study concluded that while all the search engines the lab evaluated delivered malware, Google delivered the least. It was followed by Bing, which returned a disconcerting five times as much malware as Google. Yandex, the Russian website, delivered 10 times as many malicious sites.
Thankfully, the 5,000 pieces of malware the study found are concentrated in Yandex results—which had 3,330 malicious links out of the 13 million the AV-Test looked at. Bing had a little under half that, with 1,285 malicious results out of 10 million pages. Google returned a mere 272 malicious results in 10 million while Bleko had even fewer: 203 out of around three million.
The good news is that if you’re a Google user or even a Bing user, the chances that you would encounter a malicious website in your search are low. Doing some quick arithmetic, it looks like the chance of a Googler hitting malware is about one in 40,118.
Of course, those odds are repeated billions of times a day. “[It] is important to remember that Google alone deals with a phenomenal total of 2 to 3 billion search requests worldwide every day,” reads the study. “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!”
In 2009, Google reported it handled around 320 million searches a day for America alone and around 2 billion worldwide. That’s potentially about 50,000 malicious sites a day.
In an era where malware is becoming more and more prevalent on the Mac, it never hurts to start with the right search engine.