Some of the riskiest searches on the Internet currently have to do with finding items for free, or looking for work that can be done from home, according to a new report from McAfee.
Search categories like these are used to lure unsuspecting consumers to their websites. Cybercriminals are often able to convince users to download files carrying, malicious software that can cause people to expose personal and financial information.
“Cybercriminals are smart,” said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Product Development & Avert Labs. “Like sharks smelling blood in the water, hackers will create related Web sites laden with adware and malware whenever a particular topic increases in popularity.”
“Unsuspecting consumers are then tricked into downloading malicious software that leads them to blindly hand over their personal assets to cybercriminals.”
McAfee found the riskiest set of keyword variations was “screensavers” with a maximum risk of 59.1 percent. Nearly six out of the top 10 search results for “screensavers” contain malware. One of the single riskiest search terms in the world is “lyrics,” with a maximum risk factor of one in two.
Searches using the word Viagra, a popular keyword commonly found in spam email messages, returned the fewest risky sites. Searches with the safest risk profile included health-related terms and searches about the current economic crisis.
People looking to save money, and/or searching for means of additional income should be aware that clicking on results that contain the word “free” have a 21.3 percent chance of infecting their PCs with online threats, such as spyware, spam, phishing, adware, viruses and other malware.