The Internet is pretty awesome. Unfortunately as much as it provides individuals and businesses, alike, it poses significant risks. Today, we thought we would discuss a security issue that not many people consider, Google searches, and how they can lead to cybersecurity problems.
Before we start, it is important to understand that Google searches themselves aren’t inherently dangerous. Most searches, whether you are searching for weather or news, or you have a more specific query, are filled with legitimate results and won’t have any effect on organizational or personal cybersecurity. The problem is that on the Internet, scams are everywhere, and the most innocuous search query can return dangerous results. It’s important for you and your family to have an idea of how to operate cautiously online.
Scammers that operate on the Internet are opportunists, and there is no better opportunity for them to do what they do than to exploit the people most likely to operate carelessly: Children. Today’s children have immense resources that previous generations didn’t, but as children, don’t always grasp the dangerousness of situations.
According to Home Security Heroes, over half of the search results for terms like "The Boss Baby," "Sonic the Hedgehog," and "Pokémon" could lead to malware or other online threats. Even seemingly harmless video game-related searches, such as "Animal Crossing: New Horizons," carry a 46 percent risk of leading to malware-infected domains. Despite the game's kid-friendly content, websites offering guides or illegal downloads may pose a threat.
Several years ago, Emma Watson was among the most dangerous celebrities to search for, with numerous websites linking to malware. Today, the undesirable title goes to Chris Hemsworth and Anne Hathaway. Approximately 75 percent of search results for their names may contain harmful content or malware.
Other celebrities like Kaley Cuoco, Olivia Rodrigo, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Pine, Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, and Zendaya also have a high number of risky search results.
Even the beloved Taylor Swift is not exempt from online dangers. Despite being a musical and cultural icon, some studies suggest that over three-quarters of search results associated with her name could be potentially dangerous. While this doesn't mean you can't find safe content about her, it does highlight the prevalence of websites attempting to trick users into accessing harmful content under the guise of Taylor Swift's popularity.
For those with a more nostalgic taste, the Backstreet Boys follow closely behind, with 76 percent of their search results being potentially sketchy and dangerous.
Shifting gears to a different kind of threat, the huntsman spider, known for its large size and eight legs, is a creature that may evoke fear. While the percentage of websites about these spiders hosting malware is unknown, it's likely safer to Google them than to search for certain celebrities.
Amidst the lighthearted approach, the internet's potential dangers are real. While it offers valuable information and opportunities, there are individuals seeking to exploit others. To safeguard yourself, ensure proper security measures, including antivirus and anti-malware software. Organizations should monitor endpoints, implement firewalls, and establish security policies for the safety of employees and customers.
For assistance in securing your business, feel free to contact us at (402) 514-3200.