Have you ever gone on the web and searched for “free stuff?” I know I have quite a bit, and did not realize the risk I was putting myself in. According to a study done by McAfee released in September of 2010, your chances of being directed to a malicious site are greatly increased when you use the word “free” while searching for music, movies, and other digital content.
In the report, it notes that you are 300 percent more likely to land on a malicious site if you search for free music ringtones. Also, the report states that searching for artists lyrics puts you at twice the risk than searching for “ringtones” for the same artists (first five pages of results).
Including the word “MP3” within your search immediately puts you at risk of reaching malicious sites. According to McAfee, there has been a 40 percent increase in the number of sites that host malicious MP3 files.
In order to protect yourself from these types of issues, it is recommended to not use the word “free” in your searches related to digital media, keep your antivirus up to date, don’t click on suspicious links, and use your best judgment when not sure about the safety of certain websites.