Lyrics, Free Downloads are Among McAfee’s Most Dangerous Searches

Security technology company McAfee has identified the world’s most dangerous search terms. They searched 2,600 keywords culled from several of the top keyword lists from sources such as search engines and Hitwise. They then ranked them based on risky downloads, browser exploits, email practices, phishing, excessive popups, and linking practices.

The risk for your average search results is low, at just 1.7%. That means if your search returns 250 results, about 4 of them are risky.

But there are certain categories and terms that are more risky than others. Searching for something with the word “free” attached turns out to be a risky venture indeed. Want lyrics to a song? 1 in 4 of the results for an average lyrics search are risky.

Here are the most risky categories as determined by McAfee:


In the United States, these are the most risky keywords:


Globally, one of the most risky searches that can be conducted is for “free work at home” schemes. With the current economic crisis, these search terms may be quite tempting, but they’re probably not worth the risk.


McAfee also analyzed risk based on keyword variations. Here is a list of risky root words when looking at variations:


What do you think of this data from McAfee? Leave a comment below to let us know.

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