Your innocent Google searchers could lead you straight into the hands of hackers.
Cybercriminals use popular search terms such as ‘how to make money online’ and ‘Taylor Swift‘ as a trap to get unsuspecting users to download malware.
Sneaking malicious software onto your machine gives them the power to steal money and personal information from victims without them knowing.
But there are specific searches that these bad actors tend to use for their evil deeds.
Your innocent Google searchers could lead you straight into the hands of hackers
How to make money online
There is certainly money to be made at home, but if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Some companies offer awesome employee perks or high pay — but good jobs are hard to find.
Be skeptical if one falls out of the virtual sky with more income or perks than you’d get with a similar position with another company.
Also, be wary of contract or part-time jobs with many unusual perks.
This could be a part-time office support job you’re doing remotely with a surprisingly generous bonus compensation plan or a position offering a much more flexible schedule than expected.
If they ask you to download special software for a test, that’s a malware red flag.
Free people and phone number websites
Websites that promise to help you find people or track phone numbers are notorious for ripping people off.
You’re curious about a new love interest, business contact, or old friend.
There are (free) ways to dig up dirt, but these sites are simply trying to reel you into an expensive subscription.
The worst among them could also leave digital breadcrumbs on your computer.
What to do instead?
● Check out publicly available info like government documents, arrest records and property information.
● Do a thorough Google search. There’s an art to this. Try these steps.
Malware on film
What could go wrong when your kid searches for their favorite movie? Apparently, a lot.
Home Security Heroes, a company that helps families stay safe online, found over half of the search results for ‘The Boss Baby,’ ‘Transylvania 2’ and ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ (pictured) could contain malware
Innocent searches for movies, shows, and celebrities are producing awful results.
A new study found the most common search terms to infect kids’ devices with malware.
Home Security Heroes, a company that helps families stay safe online, found over half of the search results for ‘The Boss Baby,’ ‘Transylvania 2’ and ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ could contain malware.
Many of the links usually lead to illegal download sites, just waiting to infect anything that comes its way.
TV shows are dicey, too: 47 percent of Google searches related to the ‘Pokémon’ series raised a malware red flag.
Searches for Young Justice and Monster, a Japanese anime series, had risky results of up to 45 percent.
The Dark Side of Hollywood
The most dangerous male actor to search for is Chris Hemsworth
You might want to supervise if your kids search for Anne Hathaway, Kaley Cuoco or Melissa McCarthy.
Results for these lovely ladies can send them to dodgy websites that sneak malware onto their device.
The most dangerous male actor to search for is (drumroll) Chris Hemsworth.
If only Thor’s hammer were strong enough to send malware into another dimension.
Neil Patrick Harris and Chris Pine were the second and third most dangerous searches.
Shake it off
If you and the kids are Swifties, beware.
A crazy 79 percent of websites that appear on search engines when someone types Taylor Swift contained potential malware.
Web searches for Ariana Grande and the Aussie-based band 5 Seconds of Summer revealed many suspicious results. Duly noted.
Your to-do list
We can’t protect our kids from everything on the internet, but we can do a lot to help prevent sticky situations.
Safe search mode: Google, Bing and Yahoo can filter out explicit or potentially harmful content from search results. This includes not just text but also images, videos and websites.
● Google: On your device, go to the SafeSearch setting. Select Filter, Blur or Off.
● Bing: Open a browser and go to Bing.com. Select the menu icon in the upper right of the window. Select Settings > More. Choose your SafeSearch preference: Strict, Moderate or Off. Select Save at the bottom of the menu.
● Yahoo: Go to the Yahoo Search page and ensure you’re signed in. Click the app icon > Settings > Preferences from a search results page. Select your SafeSearch preference from the drop-down menu.
Parental controls: Add it to smartphones, laptops, iPads and kids’ smart devices. Know that older kids can likely get around them.
Talk to the kids: They don’t want malware on their devices (that means no more video games or social media), so share info like this to help them make better decisions.
Don’t forget the protection: You should update antivirus software on all your devices to protect against malicious searches that can lead to malware.