Not all search engines are created equal. When it comes to Microsoft's Bing, it seems that means malicious websites are happily returned far more often than by Google.
An 18-month project by German independent testing lab AV-Test reveals that Bing returns five times as many results that link through to malware-infested websites than Google. The study considered a total of 40 million websites provided by seven different search engines.
Mercifully malware was fairly rare -- across the 40 million sites, AV-Test found 5000 pieces of malware -- but the results did show that Google's search engine was safest, at least out of those tested. Most susceptible to malware was the Russian engine Yandex, but Bing faired only a little better, throwing up 1285 malicious results compared to Google's 272.
Amusingly, most of these malware sites rank on the likes of Bing by using crude search engine optimisation techniques. The researchers explain:
[T]hey first create a multitude of small websites and blogs before selecting the most frequently used search terms from top news stories and using backlinks to optimise these terms for search engines.