“The State of Search Engine Safety,” a recent study by McAfee’s SiteAdvisor group, has some classic good news and bad news for Internet surfers. Using several automated techniques, the SiteAdvisor study determined that 4 percent of the query results offered by the major search engines lead to potentially dangerous Web sites, and the total for sponsored links is nearly twice as high at 7 percent.The good news, however, is that the number of potentially dangerous search engine links has declined by roughly 20 percent from May 2006, when the SiteAdvisor group released its initial survey.

“We’re encouraged to see some improvement in search engine safety this year. But with four out of five Web site visits starting with a search engine query, consumers are still exposed to hundreds of millions of risky searches per month,” said Tim Dowling, vice president, Consumer Growth Initiatives, McAfee SiteAdvisor. “In fact, an active search engine user, one that performs more than 10 searches per day, is likely to visit a dangerous site at least once a day.”

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