SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- One year after releasing its inaugural study of the safety of search engines, McAfee Inc. (NYSE: MFE) today published an update to "The State of Search Engine Safety." Today's update shows that while the overall safety risk to search engine users declined by about 1 percentage point, sponsored results those paid for by advertisers remain significantly more risky than non-sponsored results. Overall, McAfee estimates United States consumers make approximately 276 million monthly searches that lead to Web sites that could compromise online safety.
McAfee studied the five major United States search engines -- Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Ask which account for 93 percent of all search engine use. To conduct the study, McAfee analyzed the first 50 search results returned by each search engine for 2,300 popular keywords. The keywords were selected from lists like Google Zeitgeist and Yahoo! Buzz, among other industry sources. Each result was compared to McAfee SiteAdvisor's Web safety database of 8.2 million site safety ratings. Red ratings are assigned to sites found to offer adware, spyware, viruses, exploits, spammy e-mail, excessive pop-ups or strong affiliations with other red sites. Yellow ratings are given to sites which merit some caution before use. The data for the study was analyzed in May 2007. The study was co-authored by Ben Edelman, noted spyware researcher and an advisor to McAfee SiteAdvisor.
Among the study's key findings:
"We're encouraged to see some improvement in search engine safety this year. But with four out of five Web site visits starting with a search engine query, consumers are still exposed to hundreds of millions of risky searches per month," said Tim Dowling, vice president, Consumer Growth Initiatives, McAfee SiteAdvisor. "In fact, an active search engine user, one that performs more than 10 searches per day, is likely to visit a dangerous site at least once a day."
Other detailed information contained in the report includes a comprehensive analysis of organic and sponsored results by search engine, an analysis of Google Zeitgeist keyword groups citing the safest and riskiest keyword categories, and an analysis of safety by individual keyword.
To see a full report on the McAfee search engine study, please visit: http://www.siteadvisor.com/studies/search_safety_may2007
McAfee SiteAdvisor has been awarded five stars by CNET's Download.com, named to Time Magazine's 50 Coolest Web Sites list, awarded Popular Science's "Best of What's New" honor, named PC World Magazine's Top 20 Products of the Year, and acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Commerce with its "Recognition of Excellence in Innovation" award. McAfee SiteAdvisor has already been downloaded more than 50 million times and is available free of charge at http://www.mcafee.com.
McAfee Inc., the leading dedicated security technology company, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that secure systems and networks around the world. With its unmatched security expertise and commitment to innovation, McAfee empowers home users, businesses, the public sector, and service providers with the ability to block attacks, prevent disruptions, and continuously track and improve their security. http://www.mcafee.com.
NOTE: McAfee, and SiteAdvisor are registered trademarks or trademarks of McAfee, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the US and/or other countries. McAfee Red in connection with security is distinctive of McAfee brand products. All other registered and unregistered trademarks herein are the sole property of their respective owners. © 2007 McAfee, Inc. All rights reserved.
SOURCE McAfee Inc.