Google is top malware distributor among search engines, report reveals

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Google is top malware distributor among search engines, report reveals

Warwick Ashford

Google turns out more than twice as much malware as Bing, Twitter and Yahoo combined, according to the Barracuda Labs 2010 Midyear Security Report.

Barracuda analysed more than 25,000 trending topics and 5.5 million search results on the four search engines to understand the scope of the problem of malware delivered in this way.

Researchers found Google delivered 69% of the malware, compared with 18% for Yahoo, 12% for Bing and 1% for Twitter.

The study shows that attackers have serious efforts devoted to reaching billions of search engine users and millions of social network users every day, researchers said.

The research was aimed at analysing the techniques used by attackers to enable Barracuda to build new detection methods.

The study found that more than half of the malware was distributed between the hours of 04:00 and 10:00 GMT.

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.

The research also analysed 25 million legitimate and malicious Twitter accounts to model user behaviour and indentify signs of illegitimate account use.

The study revealed that only around 29% of Twitter users are typical users of the service and 1.67% of accounts created in the first half of 2010 were suspended for abuse or malicious and suspicious activity.

In general, activity on Twitter is increasing, but as users become more active, malicious activity is also increasing, the study found.


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