Hapless search engines distribute malware

Posted by STARR KESHET

Did you know that search engines such as Bing and social networks like Twitter are chronic distributors of nefarious malware?

Yes, indeed, Barracuda Labs has carried out an an extensive analysis of more than 25,000 trending topics and nearly 5.5 million search queries.

Hapless search engines distribute malwareThe result?

Well, Google reportedly "takes the crown" for malware distribution – turning up more than twice the amount of malware as Bing, Twitter and Yahoo combined when searches on popular trending topics were performed.

Google apparently weighed in at 69 percent, Yahoo at 18 percent, Bing at 12 percent and Twitter at a paltry one percent.

The study also determined that the top 10 terms used by malware distributors include the name of a NFL player, three actresses, a Playboy Playmate and a college student who faked his way into Harvard.

Unsurprisingly, over half of the malware found was between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. GMT.

"The purpose of the study was to analyze trending topics on popular search engines to understand the scope of the problem and to identify the types of topics used by malware distributors," Barracuda Labs explained in an official statement.

"[The results indicate] that attackers have serious efforts devoted towards getting in front of the billions of eyeballs that are using search engines everyday and the millions of users that are connecting on social networks like Twitter." 



The full report - which will be presented at Security BSides Las Vegas and DefCON 18 this week in Las Vegas - can be downloaded here.