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Are Your Google Searches Putting Your Company At Risk?

Have you or one of your employees searched online for information about country musician Luke Bryan, R&B singer Usher, or pop star Britney Spears?
 
If yes, your business may be at risk for malware and other online threats that can steal your data and harm your devices.
 
Last month, Intel Security released its list of the “Most Dangerous Celebrities.”  The list ranks those celebrities who, when searched for online, produce the most dangerous search results.  Dangerous is quantified based on the number of links that host malware or other viruses.
 
At the top of this year’s list was Dutch Electronic Dance Music DJ Armin van Buuren.  Bryan ranked #2, Usher was #3, and Spears was #4.  The reasons musicians dominated the top spots was because most often people searched for these names when looking to download or listen to free music.  The sites produced in the search results are often fakes, trying to lure in visitors with the promise of free downloads when in actuality the “downloads” are viruses in disguise.
 
Even if you or your employees are not searching for free downloads of Britney Spears’ latest single, you should still be aware of what you are “Googling.”  Just because Google or Yahoo or Bing produces a website in a search result, it does not mean that that website is free of all viruses.  For example, you could think that you are downloading information on the latest manufacturing techniques, when, in actuality, you are downloading a potpourri of computer viruses.  As this study reveals, there are plenty of hackers and scam artists, lurking on the web, hiding behind the appearance of legitimate sites. 
 
To protect your business from these hackers and scam artists you should consider taking the following measures:
•    Make sure that your antivirus software is installed and up-to-date.
•    Don’t download anything unless you can verify the source.
•    Don’t provide any sensitive information that hackers could use against you.
 
If you have questions about online security or about your legal obligations in the event of a data breach, contact a member of MacDonald Illig’s Emerging Technologies Practice Group.
 
Also, if you know of someone who may be interested in receiving these weekly updates, have that person contact vmadden@mijb.com to be added to the distribution list.