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

Source: AV-Test | Image via AV-Test

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29 Comments

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Complete lie. I use Bing as my primary search engine and I haven't got one malware link yet. As for when I used Google, every image search I got a malware warning.

wingliston said,
Complete lie. I use Bing as my primary search engine and I haven't got one malware link yet. As for when I used Google, every image search I got a malware warning.

Never got any malware alerts on Google or even Bing (the few times I tried). The percentage is so small that many may not see them at all.

OK, so Bing didn't give *you* any malware. That's good! But I wonder what you're searching for on Google... if *every* image search turned up a warning.

Are you actively looking for malware?

Should I use:

1) A search engine that returns more results, but potentially has viruses that will never be installed because of virus scanners, a web browser (IE) that runs in protected mode and will not let the virus install, and I will never be exposed to those viruses anyway because I am not visiting all 10,000,000 web sites so I have a very, very, very small chance (as someone wrote above, 0.00017%) of hitting one of those viruses that will never install.

2) A search engine that is guaranteed to take my personal information and use it to target me, and potentially sell it to the highest bidder?

Option #2 seems much like how a harmful virus works, taking your information without your consent and using it against you. Shouldn't every page on Google be marked a virus?

SoylentG said,
Should I use:

1) A search engine that returns more results, but potentially has viruses that will never be installed because of virus scanners, a web browser (IE) that runs in protected mode and will not let the virus install, and I will never be exposed to those viruses anyway because I am not visiting all 10,000,000 web sites so I have a very, very, very small chance (as someone wrote above, 0.00017%) of hitting one of those viruses that will never install.

2) A search engine that is guaranteed to take my personal information and use it to target me, and potentially sell it to the highest bidder?

Option #2 seems much like how a harmful virus works, taking your information without your consent and using it against you. Shouldn't every page on Google be marked a virus?

You know you can turn it all off right?

https://www.google.com/setting...9_wfvBmdeOwm4DyUB4EgKDaZbSA

SoylentG said,

2) A search engine that is guaranteed to take my personal information and use it to target me, and potentially sell it to the highest bidder?

There is no potentially about it...Google does not sell off your info. Its just used to target ads. If Google was selling personal info, I am sure MS and the boys over at FairSearch would be all over this.

For me, I will stick with the company that does the least trash talk. I also never had a problem finding what I want/need on Google so see no reason to switch either.

thealexweb said,

I know that, you know that, but does the general person? I doubt my mother knows how to do this, or that it even exists. I doubt the general person off the street knows about this. I didn't even know about it until about two weeks ago when somebody mentioned it in one of these Google vs. Bing articles. And why do I need to opt out, why is it not turned off by default and if I want to allow this attack on my privacy, then I should have to turn it on? Why do I need to visit multiple pages to turn off these attacks on my privacy? Why am I not permitted to turn off some of these attacks on my privacy? I have visited Google once or twice over the past couple months, and yet it seems to know my age, my gender, language, and lists my interests quite well - how is it getting this information and attacking my privacy without my permission?

^
Google announced this a few times and it has been discussed here for a long time as well. And a lot of things you have to opt out on, not just Google services.

techbeck said,

There is no potentially about it...Google does not sell off your info. Its just used to target ads. If Google was selling personal info, I am sure MS and the boys over at FairSearch would be all over this.

For me, I will stick with the company that does the least trash talk. I also never had a problem finding what I want/need on Google so see no reason to switch either.

So Google doesn't trash talk? OK, if you want to believe that...

Targeting ads is not selling my data?

I never have any problem finding what I want on Bing, and they are not doing questionable things with my data. I see no reason to switch.

I find it interesting that Microsoft gives away free apps on the Win8 store, and they have ads embedded to fund those free apps, the server. That is a huge offense to many of the MS haters because Microsoft should be paying to allow everyone to use those apps for free. But Google uses your information, hides how to get to that page to disable their spying (really, I am supposed to remember that big URL?) and them using your information is goodness because it is finding ways to force ads to you and funding Google. The hypocrisy is rampant.

SoylentG said,

So Google doesn't trash talk? OK, if you want to believe that...

Re-read what I said...


Targeting ads is not selling my data?

If it stays within Google, then no it is not. And if Google was giving out private info, it would be a huge deal and like I said previously, Google is apparently being watched by a few companies and they would be all over this.


I never have any problem finding what I want on Bing, and they are not doing questionable things with my data. I see no reason to switch.

Then stick with Bing. More power to ya and why there is alternatives and why alteratives/competition is a good thing. Myself, I am not worried about Google, I have read and understand what is going on, and I have had no issues. But that is my preferance at the moment.


But Google uses your information, hides how to get to that page to disable their spying (really, I am supposed to remember that big URL?) and them using your information is goodness because it is finding ways to force ads to you and funding Google. The hypocrisy is rampant.

I woudlnt remember that long URL either...but you only have to do it once. Go here....
http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/?hl=en
or
http://www.google.com/policies/technologies/ads/

[quote=techbeck said,]

Re-read what I said... "For me, I will stick with the company that does the least trash talk. I also never had a problem finding what I want/need on Google so see no reason to switch either."

This is what SoylentG replied to.

[quote=stm24 said,]

*sigh* I know what he replied to. I said LEAST trash talk. I never said Google didnt do it. Keyword here being least.

[quote=stm24 said,]

See, there is different levels of trash talk. You can yell and scream and stomp your foot about your competitor, whine to world governments about how you are just not being treated fair, and that is fine. But you say "company X does this, we don't" and that is an inexcusable offense.

techbeck said,
...but you only have to do it once.

I've had to do it multiple times because the preference is stored in a cookie. If you want to do it permanently, you have to install an extension. Shouldn't have to do that, but you do.

It's a logarithmic scale with every horizontal step being in the power of 10, i.e. 10^2. 10^3 and so forth. It's not out of whack.

did this test google images? 90 percent of all the fake virus scan programs that get installed here are from google images. Yes we run virus scanners and nobody is an admin yet they still appear.

siah1214 said,
So .00017% of Bing's results are malware, while .00002% of Google's results are malware.

I'm 0,00015% more scared than I was before!

Seriously, this data is practically worthless. What I actually would like to see is a list of the search terms, and how far down these malware sites were ranked in the search results. I'd be even more curious to know from those scans what the most common malware was per-platform...

Plus, how much of this malware was on sites that are frequently visited without even using a search engine? Did they encounter it on common news sites like CNN that large groups of people access anyway? What region/language were the sites with malware targeting, primarily English/Chinese/Japanese/etc or something else?