McAfee SiteAdvisor , which is pioneering Web safety by testing and rating nearly every trafficked site on the Internet has news for Internet users who think Web sites with clean, appealing graphics and national advertisers on the home page are always safe: “Think again.”
According to the first-ever Spyware Quiz conducted by SiteAdvisor, a staggering 97% of Internet users are just one click away from infecting their PCs with spyware, adware or some other kind of unwanted software. Even though the threat of spyware has received extensive media coverage, just 3% of the 14,000-plus consumers who took SiteAdvisor’s spyware quiz received perfect scores.
The survey challenged Web surfers to test their ability to detect which sites in a number of popular categories were free of adware or spyware. The examples in the quiz are taken from more than three million Web sites which SiteAdvisor has independently tested and rated for Web safety issues like spyware and spam. The first part of the quiz presented users with pairs of sites and asked them to pick which one of the pair was safe. The second part presented a series of file sharing software sites and asked which ones were spyware and adware free. The test has been available since March.
Among the survey’s most sobering conclusions:
- Based on their choices, a majority of users (65%) would have been infected with adware or spyware many times over
- The presence of national advertisers and a clean, uncluttered design seem to trick respondents into thinking a site is safe
- Even users with a high “Spyware IQ” have a nearly 100% chance of visiting a dangerous site during 30 days of typical online searching and browsing activity
- Users often miss the fine print that allows a dangerous Web site to claim it installs unwanted software legally
To take McAfee’s SiteAdvisor Spyware quiz, go to http://www.siteadvisor.com/spywarequiz .