risky web searches

This morning I have read an article on risky web searches on a study carried out by McAfee on The most dangerous and safest Web searches with some interesting findings.

McAfee claims that a search for the term “screensavers” is the riskiest with 59.1% of the sites shown in search results contain some form of malware. The term “lyrics” followed closely with around half of the results leading to sites containing malware.

I have noticed a trend since we implemented web filtering in the offices that many users do not even type in the URL into the address bar on their browsers, instead they search for the site in google then click the first link. Often the sponsored link provided by google at the top of their search results is blocked by our web filters and users complain that legitimate sites are being blocked.

The internet has become a fundamental part of our lives and yet many of it’s users do not have a clue about the risks of using it carelessly. With so many home computers becoming nodes in botnets used to DDoS sites and spread spam, not only is the home user putting himself at risk, his machine is helping spread and damage other systems across the internet.

The only way of combatting this behavior is to educate the users, sadly they are not all as interested in learning more about information security as I am.

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