AV Test, an antivirus testing company from Germany, reports that Bing is five times more likely to show malware infected websites in search results than Google. The company evaluated searches over a number of search engines, Google and Bing included, for more than a year and a half. Google vs Bing evaluated almost 40 million websites, of which the latter showed five times as many websites containing malware. Google search brought up 272 malware infected websites out of the 10.9 million searches, whereas Bing displayed 1,285 infected websites after the same amount of searches.
These infected websites have malware that exploit existing security vulnerabilities, if a user has updated browsers and add-ons, the risk is significantly decreased. The malware exploits vulnerabilities in old add-ons, outdated PDF readers and old web browsers. This goes to show how important it is to keep everything up to date, be it browsers or add-ons. Even the smallest of updates can bring patches for any such vulnerability that can be easily exploited. It is a never ending battle against online malware, so its always better to strengthen up your defenses.
Update: We have received an official statement from David Felstead, who is Bing’s Senior Program Manager, which clarifies Microsoft’s position on this study:
AV-TEST’s study doesn’t represent the true Bing experience. The conclusions many have drawn from the study are wrong because AV-TEST didn’t actually do any searching on bing.com. They used a Bing API to execute a number of queries and downloaded the result to their system for further analysis. By using the API instead of the user interface, AV-TEST bypassed our warning system designed to keep customers from being harmed by malware. Bing does prevent customers from clicking on malware infected sites by disabling the link on the results page and showing a message to stop people from going to the site.