Bing answers malware critics

Earlier this week word hit the web that Bing search results display more malware than Google. Naturally, Microsoft disagrees. "AV-TEST’s study doesn’t represent the true experience or risk to customers. In other words, the conclusions many have drawn from the study are wrong", David Felstead, Bing senior program manager, says. Okay, why?

Felstead elaborates: "By using the API instead of the user interface, AV-TEST bypassed our warning system designed to keep customers from being harmed by malware. Bing actually does prevent customers from clicking on malware infected sites by disabling the link on the results page and showing the...message to stop people from going to the site".

He goes on to explain that Bing displays links from infected sites because most are legitimate sites that normally don’t host malware but have been hacked. It is a plausible, but not fully satisfactory, answer. "We warn our customers rather than suppressing the result for both completeness and educational reasons", Felstead states.

Then, in true Scroogled fashion, he points out a search term that can be entered into Google that results in malicious results.

In fairness, Felstead also points out that Microsoft is "still waiting on answers to many of our questions" on the methodology of these tests. In other words, this is a "he said, she said" matter that we will likely never have real answers on. In the end it boils down to which engine you prefer and the good sense to not click on results that claim to provide the moon to you.

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