Microsoft: AV-TEST study on Bing malware search links was inaccurate

Earlier this month, German-based security firm AV-TEST released the results of an 18-month study on how many sites from the top search results of Google and Microsoft's Bing are links to malware infections. AV-TEST stated that, while the overall percentage of malware sites in search results were low, Bing brought up five times as many malware links as Google.

Late on Friday, Microsoft's official Bing blog posted up a new entry that disputes the results of the AV-TEST study. Microsoft said they only got the methodology of the study on Wednesday and found out that AV-TEST didn't actually search on the Bing.com website itself. Instead, AV-TEST used a Bing API for their search results so they could download those links for their study.

Microsoft stated:

By using the API instead of the user interface, AV-TEST bypassed our warning system designed to keep customers from being harmed by malware. Bing actually does prevent customers from clicking on malware infected sites by disabling the link on the results page and showing the below message to stop people from going to the site.

The blog adds that Bing warns users about malware infected sites instead of just removing them from search results because they tend to be links to real URLs that have become infected from outside forces. Microsoft says their warnings prevent 94 percent of the clicks to those sites from Bing. Overall, warnings come up in about 0.04 percent of all searches on Bing.

Microsoft concluded their blog post by saying, "In this particular case, we here at Bing are very confident that our methods for malicious link detection and warning make our engine one of the safest on the net."

Source: Bing blog | Image via Microsoft

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