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Malware

Google warns users over malware sites in search results

Monday, August 07, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: malware, search engines, internet security


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(NewsTarget) Malware -- software that, among other things, spies on computer users and plagues them with constant barrages of popups -- is a growing concern in the internet community, and Google is stepping in to help protect consumers by warning them if they are about to visit a site with a reputation for the harmful programs.

The search engine giant has teamed with Lenovo, Sun and the Stop Badware coalition to provide the warnings to anyone who visits a site deemed as harmful by the watchdog organization. The initial warnings will be generic, but Stop Badware said it would begin providing specific warnings as harmful sites are analyzed.

The warning will suggest people try a different site, but will not actually prevent them from continuing.

According to a May research report -- partly sponsored by McAfee's SiteAdvisor, which also warns of potentially harmful sites -- the average search term results will be comprised of 4 to 6 percent harmful sites. Certain search terms returned an even higher percentage; "free screensavers" for example returned 64 percent harmful sites in its result.

Dangerous keywords found by the report include:

  • Free screensavers
  • Bearshare
  • Screensavers
  • Winmx
  • Limewire or Lime wire
  • Download Yahoo messenger
  • Free ringtones
"Most dodgy websites that have spyware or are infected with viruses come through search," said ScansSafe Chief Executive Eldar Tuvey. "Because they are the ones that people do not know as well and find through searching."

ScanSafe's Scandoo search engine already superimposes its own malware warnings on Google and MSN results.

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