Microsoft Bing Users Exposed to Malware: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

Be careful when using Bing, Microsoft's search engine, says a security expert. According to the expert's report, Bing is more likely than other search engines to offer users links to malicious websites.

The report comes from Fraser Howard, a computer security researcher with SophosLabs. In the report, Howard suggests that users of Bing are twice as likely as users of Google to find malicious links on their results pages.

Bing Bad, Google Less Bad

That's a startling number, given that Google has more than four times the market share of Bing. However, it remains unclear how accurate and reliable that conclusion may be.

Howard reached his conclusion by studying the number of websites blocked by Sophos security tools.

"Taking data from the last couple of weeks for search engine redirects blocked on our web appliance, it is clear that the majority of the redirects are affecting those using the Bing search engine," he noted in the report. (Source:

Other security experts, however, say it's important to keep in mind this was not an exhaustive study, so the results should be taken with a grain of salt.

In the words of Sophos security adviser Chester Wisniewski, Howard's was "not the most scientific of studies." (Source:

Image Links Far More Dangerous Than Text Links

Howard's report says Google search results are safer, but are by no means perfect. In fact, his report includes an important warning about clicking on image links, which are far more likely than text links to lead to malware.

According to Howard, 92 per cent of malicious results were reached after using an image search query. Clicking on a malicious image link too frequently "results in being redirected to a malicious...exploit site," Howard notes. (Source:

Observers hope that Google's acquisition of VirusTotal will help reduce the number of malicious links included in search results. However, it remains unknown what Microsoft is planning to do about the problem in Bing.

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