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BLOG: It’s not the Olympics but the everyday stuff

Simon Molenberg | Sept. 6, 2012
New research confirms that big events do not make for successful search engine poisoning attacks. Bad guys have much better luck with everyday items.

Blue Coat also did a sampling of 2,300 poisoned search terms. From the results shown in the table below, you can see that celebrity searches, for instance, were only responsible for 2.7 percent of all search terms while, miscellaneous which includes every day topic such as resume letters was much higher at 42 percent. 

Proxy/Unblocker

Porn

Non-English

Celebrity

Video/Stream

Specific Site

App/Software

Holiday

Misc

2.0%

11.2%

18.1%

2.7%

3.5%

9.5%

5.8%

5.3%

42.0%

Here are four key actions any user can take to mitigate the risks of search engine poisoning:

1)      Be aware: Users are well-trained now to be suspicious of links in e-mail, especially from people they don't know.  Apply that same level of caution to your search results.

2)      Get a Web filtering solution: Use a Web filtering solution to complement your desktop anti-virus. Desktop anti-virus is a crucial component of protection, however, it isn't really enough anymore. There is free software out there that will help block these attacks before the malware even gets to the user's desktop.

3)      Read the teaser:  The text should read natural, not jumbled together and relates to the topic that users are searching for.

4)      Pay attention to the Web address endings: Check and see if it's the usual dot com and dot net. Users can protect themselves by being wary and not click on the link if it appears to be suspicious in any way.

Simon Molenberg is managing director, ASEAN,  Blue Coat Systems.

 

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