10 most dangerous web search terms revealed

June 3rd, 2009 - 5:26 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, June 3 (ANI): Web searches including terms like lyrics, free music downloads are most likely to put your computer at risk of virus or even malicious software, for security firm McAfee, Inc. has listed these words as some of the most dangerous search terms on the internet.

In a recent report, McAfee has revealed Web search terms that put users most at risk for accidentally downloading unwanted or malicious software.

The report, titled ‘The Web’s Most Dangerous Search Terms’, reveals that the researchers analysed over 2,600 of the most popular search terms of 2008 from a range of sources, including the Google Zeitgeist and the Yahoo! 2008 Year in Review.

“Search engines are our on-ramp, our highway and our off-ramp — they’re everything for Web travel. The hacking community is very smart — they can spot a trend as well as any trendspotter,” the Telegraph quoted Shane Keats, the research analyst with McAfee who led the study, as saying.

After analysing the search terms, the researchers found that hackers looking for crowds.

They are also attacking Internet surfers who are ready to take an online action, like downloading a ringtone or logging in to a site with a name, address and social security number.

For example, people searching for free music downloads are easy targets for hackers because they are expecting to download an mp3.

In order to evaluate the risk associated with each keyword, the researchers looked at the search results generated by each keyword, and then calculated the percentage of links that would take users to Web sites with unwanted adware, spyware or other malicious software.

For example, the term “lyric,” had an average risk of 14.8 percent, meaning that nearly 15 out of 100 search results would take users to risky sites.

The most dangerous categories of search terms include online games, free downloads, song lyrics, and screensavers.

Search terms involving online games were among the riskiest because online games often prompt users to install plug-ins or register with a name or e-mail address.

Keywords that include lyrics were risky because Web sites featuring the words to songs sometimes host links that take users to sites with unwanted pop-up ads or spyware.

The 10 Most Dangerous Web Searches in the United States are:

1. Word Unscrambler2. Lyrics3. MySpace4. Free Music Downloads5. Phelps, Weber-Gale, Jones and Lezak Wins 4x 100m Relay6. Free Music7. Game Cheats8. Printable Fill in Puzzles9. Free Ringtones10. Solitaire (ANI)

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