7% of sponsored links are dangerous

Posted on Saturday, Jun 09 2007 @ 17:30 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
A study from McAfee found that seven percent of all sponsored links bring clickers to unsafe websites and for the most popular search results it's 4 percent:
The practice of unbridled clicking becomes riskier for Web searchers focused by so-called "sponsored results," the paid ads that appear alongside targeted search engine results, the company found. Nearly 7 percent of all sponsored ads brought clickers to risky sites, according to the study.

The study was meant to highlight McAfee's free SiteAdvisor tool. The free add-on for the Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers tries to give Web surfers a bit more intelligence about the safety of following links returned by the Web's top five search engines.

With the software installed, each search result listing is accompanied by a small color-coded, green, yellow, or red icon. SiteAdvisor occasionally will give a question mark to a site it hasn't developed an opinion about that site's security. A green check mark next to a result shows that the software hasn't encountered anything questionable about the site. McAfee grades sites with a yellow X to encourage a Web surfer to use caution. If a SiteAdvisor-aided search result earns a red X, McAfee has received reports of scammy, spammy or outright malicious activity emanating from the site.
More info at Washington Post.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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