A fall in the number of search engine results leading users to websites containing unwanted or deceiving downloads has been noted.
According to research conducted by McAfee, some four per cent of results for keywords entered into search engines currently generate links to malware websites, compared to five per cent from a similar study in 2006.
The study also revealed a fall in the number of sponsored results leading to "risky" websites.
Some 6.9 per cent of such results are reported to contain malware, down from 8.5 recorded last year.
The move was partially attributed to attempts by Google to reduce fraudulent or misleading sponsored listings, which in turn can help reputable online marketers to target audiences.
However, Ben Edelman, author of the research, suggested that search firms "could do more" to target those marketers who fraudulently use search engines in an attempt to target unsuspecting users.
He told VNUnet.com: "These advertisers rely completely on search engines, so the search engines are uniquely positioned to kill these businesses."
The top 50 results from the most popular 2,300 keywords on Ask.com, Google, AOL, Yahoo! and MSN were analysed.
Earlier this year, a study by Click Forensics indicated the proportion of abuse within click schemes rose to 14.8 per cent during the first quarter of 2007, compared to the same period in 2006.
Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 05/06/2007 - 15:20