Microsoft's search engine Bing returns in queries five times as many Web sites containing malware as Google.
Google achieved the best results -- or lowest count -- in the study analyzing 40 million Web sites during 18 months, according to Markus Selinger, author of the AV-TEST study. He highlights the finding of about 5,000 potential pieces of malware during the study conducted between August 2011 and February 2013.
The Russian search engine Yandex delivered 10 times as many links with malware in the millions.
During the analyses, about 20 million Web sites were provided by Google and Bing, followed by Yandex at 13 million, with the remainder coming from search engines Blekko, Faroo, Teoma and China's Baidu.
Search engine optimization actually played a role in infecting sites because the top results are typically the malicious links. Users are the least suspicious of the top results, and quickly click on those provided.
The amount of malware and malicious links continues to grow. In fact, AV-TEST most recently recorded more than 110 million pieces of malware in March 2013 across search engines. The increase in malware also results in a continually growing number of infected Web sites.
While search engines are full of malware, ads and email continue to be infected. In February, advertising network NetSeer was hit by a malware attack. "Sites like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Boston.com, ZDNet, IMDb, and The Hollywood Reporter were among the dozens of sites that were said to be put on the blacklist, preventing users from visiting their pages," according to The Verge.
The test institute AV-TEST also recently carried out an 18-month study evaluating more 550,000 spam emails. Nearly 14,000 of these e-mails were infected, about 2.5% of the total number of e-mails analyzed.
The majority of the emails contained an attachment, and about 30% were infected with malicious malware. Some 400,000 of the e-mails contained Web site addresses, along with the content text. Nearly 1% of the links found in these mails with URLs led users directly to Web sites infected with malware, while the others were mostly fraudulent offers for counterfeit products like pharmaceuticals and rebates.