TechMan Texts: Which engine has the safest search?

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German independent testing lab A-V Test conducted an 18-month study on which search engines returned the fewest malware-infected sites in search results.

Bad guys use search engine optimization tactics -- the same used by corporations and bloggers -- to move their malware-ridden spawn to the top of search results, according to PCMag. If you then click on those sites, your machine could be infected.

About 40 million websites provided by seven different search engines were examined -- 10 million from Microsoft's Bing, 10 million from Google, 13 million from the Russian service Yandex, and the rest from Blekko, Faroo, Teoma and Chinese search engine Baidu. AV-Test found 5,000 malware sites among the 40 million, a somewhat surprisingly low percentage.

PCMag writes Blekko had the lowest number of infected sites, 203 out of 3 million. Google was not far behind and better on a percentage basis, 272 out of 10 million sites.

Bing had five times as many malicious sites as Google, 1,285 malicious results out of 10 million pages.

Yandex returned the bulk of the 5,000 bad sites, 3,330 links out of 13 million, according to PCMag.

Even the worst search engines are hardly rife with malicious sites.

By the way, among the founders of Blekko are former Mt. Lebanon High School classmates Rich Skrenta, Michael Markson and Bob Truel.

A bill making its way through Congress promises to be another battle over Internet privacy. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act would allow for the sharing of Internet traffic information among the U.S. government and certain companies, according to Wikipedia. The bill is designed to help the government investigate and thwart cyberattacks.

Opponents believe the bill contains too few limits on how and when the government may monitor Internet browsing information and that such powers could be used to spy on citizens rather than pursue cybercriminals, according to Wikipedia.

Supporters see it as a simple and effective means of sharing cyberthreat information with the government.

The bill could reach a vote this week. A similar bill passed the House last year, but never came up for a vote in the Senate, according to Wikipedia.

Tip of the week: There is syntax within Google to search only one site. For example, if you wanted to search for the term "police," in the Google search field type police. Notice the spacing.

You also can search within a single domain. The search phrase site:edu textbooks searches all sites in the .edu domain for the term "textbooks."

Website of the week: I learned about when Colin Powell said it was his favorite site. It has more than 20,000 links to dictionaries, newspapers, government sites and many other sources. It also was an early site on the Web, created in 1995.

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