17 July 2009
Curious about the web’s most dangerous search terms?
The categories with the worst maximum risk profile were lyrics keywords (26.3%) and phrases that include the word “free” (21.3%). If a consumer landed at the riskiest search page for a typical lyrics search, one of four results would be risky.
What makes a webpage dangerous?
- Risky downloads—Downloadable files that contain viruses, spyware, or adware or make unrelated
changes to the downloading computer
- Browser exploits—Also known as a driveby download, this type of malicious code enables viruses,
keystroke loggers, or spyware to install on a consumer’s computer without consent and/or knowledge
- Email practices—Registration forms and other sign-ups that result in high volume email, highly
commercial email or both. We also test for difficultly unsubscribing.
- Phishing—Scam sites that try to trick visitors into believing the site is legitimate
- Excessive popups—Sites that engage in aggressive popup behavior or display large numbers
- Linking practices—Sites that aggressively link to other red- or yellow-rated sites
The report, by McAfee, mentions that hacking for profit has overtaken hacking for fame. I suspect that is why we no longer worry about viruses that will wipe our hard drives clean — the tactic is attention-getting, but is unlikely to be profitable to anybody. Today, viruses that collect information about our computing habits and personal lives are the primary threats.