Today, almost all PC viruses are spread over the internet. And many internet-borne viruses attract users through search engines.
Some viruses prey on certain search terms. If you’re searching for “naked celebrity pics” online, for example, then you might encounter a few malicious images in the search results that pop up. Hackers know that millions of people will be searching for these keywords and willing to click on just about anything that pops up. As a result, they’ll make an image that auto-redirects to a malicious website, after which a user’s computer will be infected.
This problem has been plaguing Google ever since the world’s largest search engine was first created. However, those who have switched to Bing to get away from these problems will be sorely disappointed. According to a new study by SophosLabs, Bing is one of the world’s worst search engines in terms of “poisoned” links.
What are “poisoned” links? It’s a general term for any links that redirect users to malicious websites. These websites might download viruses or malware onto a user’s computer or install tracking exploits into the browser. In any case, “poisoned” links – just like real poison – have the ability to ruin your day.
According to the SophosLabs report, out of all of the users who encountered viruses while searching online, 30% were using Google while 65% were using Bing. The researchers stressed that this doesn’t mean 65% of Bing’s search results are poisoned. Instead, it means that out of the minority of users who encounter viruses through search engines (which could be as little as 1%), most of these users used Bing.
The report also stressed the influence of image-based viruses. Most hackers focused their attention on images when looking for ways to transfer viruses to a user’s computer. Meanwhile, both Bing and Google were good at filtering out malicious text-based results. With images, filtering becomes much more difficult.
How to protect yourself
Whether you use Google or Bing, you need to learn how to protect yourself when searching online. First, you should always have some sort of antivirus software installed on your computer. Most antivirus programs now have proactive filters installed. These filters actively scan whatever links you’re about to click online, and if you’re lucky, the antivirus software will let you know before you are automatically redirected to that website.
Another way to protect yourself is to simply stay educated about the risks of search engine viruses. Hackers prey on seedy search keywords. Searches for free software, games, and music, for example, will very often lead to malicious results. As will searches for pornographic content and other media.
You should also clean your temporary internet files folder on a regular basis. Search engine information and cache data is stored in that folder, and when left over time, it can cause serious problems for your computer. To automatically clean your computer with a single click, download PC Cleaner Pro today.