McAfee Warns of Riskiest Sites

Dennis Faas's picture

Thank security software gurus McAfee for confirming what most of us had come to believe: searching on the Internet can be dangerous to your computer's health. The company recently launched a survey under its "SiteAdvisor" division, and some of the results are startling.

According to McAfee, searches for the following: "digital music", "tech toys", and "to do online" returned some very shady websites. McAfee says that between 35% to as many as half of the domains popping up with these search terms are considered "risky", whether entered into Google, Yahoo!, MSN, or any other search engine.

As you might expect, terms associated with illegal activity show the most dangerous results. Although just 4% of all sites are considered risky, web users need to be careful what they search for. Terms like Kazaa and Limewire (popular file sharing protocols) returned 35% and 37% risky sites, respectively. (Source:

McAfee has also released another study, this one finding that about 7% of all sponsored links should be considered a threat. For those who don't know, sponsored links are those that line the right side of a Google search. They're placed on that half of the screen by paying companies, and not all have good intentions while being there.

Despite the worrisome numbers, McAfee has discovered that such threatening pages are actually down from one year ago. At this time in 2006, the security company discovered some 8.5% of sponsored links to prove risky, meaning there have been some "improvements in paid search safety." (Source:

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