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Malware and virus threats in search engine results are getting a lot worse

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October 28, 2016

On any given day, virus and malware threats in search engine results are getting a lot worse, despite the best efforts of Google and others.

The overall number of infected search results has been increasing year by year since 2013, despite the application of multiple tools and technologies designed to exclude dodgy links and other malware-related activities, according to a study by independent anti-virus testing firm AV-TEST.org.

The analysed websites originate in various proportions from the search engines of Google, Bing, Yandex and Faroo.

Additionally, since mid-2014, more than 515 million Twitter updates were examined for malicious links. What was found is concerning to the internet community.

Then in 2015, AV-TEST.org examined about 80 million websites, spotting no less than 18,280 infected web pages. In the year up to August, the testing lab inspected a similar 81 million websites turning up a much higher 29,632 infected web pages.

It's important to note that both results were recorded without enabling Google Safe Browsing.

Both figures are a big increase on 2013 when AV-TEST encountered 5,060 malware threats after examining 40 million web pages.

All of the pages with malware threats found by AV-TEST were visited using the Google Safe Browsing tools. The results were less than impressive.

Last year, the 18,280 pages with malware threats threw up Google warnings in just 555 of cases, a troubling result.

Overall, various links in tweets were infected as well, and at almost exactly the same rate of frequency as links filtered by the Google search platform.

Maik Morgenstern, chief technology officer at AV-TEST.org, explained that the dynamic content of the web means it sees different content from Google/Bing when accessing and scanning various websites.

That factor, combined with the overall appearance of malicious ads, on previously clean websites goes some way in explaining the discrepancy, however.

"It could be that the ads on the website that have been flagged as suspicious by us and that changes every time you access the site," Morgenstern explained. "Or the site is delivering different content randomly or it does so by checking the user agent or location of the user," he added.

"Also, I don't know what the interval is when Google/Bing are scanning the websites for malware. There will always be a certain timeframe where malicious content could be on the site without Google/Bing knowing it, even if they were able to detect it. It's the nature of the beast. It's also possible that we flagged content as suspicious that is not considered suspicious by Google/Bing," he asserted.

Source: AV-TEST.org.

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Read the latest IT news. Visit ItDirection.net. Updated several times daily.

If you need reliability when it comes to SMTP servers, get the best, get Port 587.

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