McAfee Study Says Free Music Comes At A Price
It's seems that all this free music may be almost as bad for your computer as it has been for the bottom line of the average record label. A new report by anit-virus software maker McAfee outlines the threat of "free" MP3s, software, streaming video, fan pages and malicious ads that appear even on well-established web sites. The research found that adding the word "free" to a search for music ringtones resulted in a 300% jump in the riskiness of sites returned by major search engines in English. Free in other languages yielded similar results.
Searching for "MP3s" added risk to music search results, while searching for "free MP3s" made those searches even riskier. Even when a consumer indicated that they wanted to pay for the MP3 in their search, results still sent them to pirated content.
McAfee also discovered thousands of malicious and highly suspicious URLs associated with fan clubs or comments made on social media sites, such as YouTube and Twitter. Malicious advertising or "malvertising," where an ad is used to distribute malware or exploit the user's browser, is a common means of infection. For instance, McAfee identified "malvertising" on perezhilton.com as recently as June that redirected users to a domain that delivered malicious software.