McAfee: Search results can be dangerous

McAfee is reporting that some web search companies are better at filtering out bad links than others: Google has improved over the past year, AOL has the safest search results on the Web right now and Yahoo is the riskiest. In McAfee's latest study, published Monday, the company concluded that about 4% of search results were found to be risky, compared to last year's 5%. Yahoo's poor performance is due to a spike in the number of sponsored links that McAfee deemed risky. When looking at organic links alone, Yahoo actually had the best results of any of the five search engines, returning risky links just 2.7% of the time.

Google returned risky results 3.4% of the time, compared to last year's 5.3%. AOL on the other hand, gave risky links 2.9% of the time, an improvement over last year's 5.3%. Yahoo, formerly one of the safest engines evaluated by McAfee, jumped from 4.3% in 2006 to 5.4%. Microsoft's MSN also took a step backward, jumping from 3.9% in 2006 to 4.2% in 2007. Ask.com went from 6.1% to 3.5%.

McAfee's study looked at the first five pages of search results provided by AOL, Yahoo, Google, MSN, and Ask.com for about 2,300 widely used keywords. It then compared those links to its Web safety database, which records sites that are associated with things like spam, online scams, Web attacks, and risky downloads. The most dangerous subjects to search for are words related to digital music and tech toys, as they return risky results nearly 20% of the time.

News source: InfoWorld

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