McAfee lists web's most dangerous search terms

In a new report McAfee has shown how scammers are manipulating search engines using new SEO talents to get victims to download malware. McAfee in its report lists what it considers The Web's Most Dangerous Search Terms - some of which are rather surprising.

The keywords were examined by the safety of search results on the first five pages of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live, Ask, and AOL. It covered over 2,600 popular keywords from a wide variety of sources for the U.S. and from Google Zeitgeist for international search.

It showed web users searching for downloadable content, especially screen savers, music lyrics, and free digital music, are at risk of downloading malware instead.

The riskiest terms were those that involved downloading content. "Lyrics" was one of the most dangerous search terms, appearing in the top 10 in the U.S., Canada, The Netherlands, and New Zealand.

In North America the most dangerous search terms were "free music downloads" (20.7 percent average risk), "game cheats" (16.7 percent), "word unscambler" (16.1 percent), followed by "lyrics" (14.8 percent).

For further keyword analysis, McAfee contracted with Hitwise, an Internet data company, to collate risk levels from individual keywords into categories. The riskiest category by far was "screensavers," with an average risk of 34.4 percent, followed by "free games" (6.8 percent), "work from home" (3.1 percent), "Rihanna" (2.4 percent), "Wekbinz" (1.9 percent), "powerball" (1.5 percent) and "iPhone" and the "Jonas brothers," both at 1.2 percent.

Globally, the keywords with the worst average risk profiles were "free" sites (7.3 percent) and lyrics sites (5.1 percent).

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