Search engine results which get you to click on a bad site and dodgy emails with malicious links are classically how malware gets onto your computer.
They’re both on the rise according to research by BlueCoat a web security company, but on the search engine side of things, it’s the image searches you really need to be careful about.
Google is sharp at weeding out the bad links on their text search, but it’s harder for them to work out what kind of sites are hosting the images that they pick up on the image searches.
Larsen of BlueCoat claimed that image search is currently “the most dangerous activity” you can do on the Web. Phony malware sites will often host popular pictures – photos of Robert Pattinson etc. By the time you’ve clicked on the image cached by Google you’ll have already clicked through to the site exposing your computer to the malware attack.
Tips? Just be careful with image searches, scan the url before clicking (does it look like a trustworthy name) and never download “anti-virus software” on the sites you end up on.
In general: searches for porn, pharmaceuticals and illegal software tend to be the richest source of malware. Be extra careful with those.
Five main ways Malware gets onto your computer include:
Search Engine results – 5.2%
Pornography – 6.7%
Unknown (data about referrer not provided) – 10.5%
Social Media – 39.2%
[data from BlueCoat, via TechCrunch]