It’s Internet 101: Be careful of what sites you visit, because the wrong one could infect your computer with malware. A new study by AV-TEST, The Independent IT-Security Institute, suggests you should be just as careful about which search engine you use too – Bing’s search returns were found to have five times as much malware than Google’s.
AV-TEST investigated 21.9 million websites delivered by search giants Google and Bing over the course of two years. There was significant overlap for many of the search results, but Bing shined in one very unfortunate area: the number of malware-infected sites returned. Of the 11.0 million Bing sites tested, a total of 1,285 contained malware. Only 272 of Google’s 10.9 million search returns had malware.
According to AV-Test, Bing’s vulnerability is most pronounced when you use the site to search about recent news topics. This appears to be because the makers of malware often use tricks to fool Bing into preferring their sites – sites that the Google search algorithm leaves out. So if you use Bing to search for news, it seems prudent to only click results that lead to familiar news media sites.
To be fair, the percentage of infected sites returned by each search engine is fairly low, and good security software can protect your computer even if you mess up and click the wrong link. Be sure to check out our Computer Security Software Buying Guide 2013 to learn more about the best ways to keep your computer safe.