Yandex Takes Exception To Search Malware Study

yandex-logo-200pxYandex has taken exception to a recent study that reported it has more malware in its search results than other major search engines like Google and Bing.

The company shared its concerns with Search Engine Land via email, saying that it also sent the same response to AV-TEST, the German IT security firm that published the findings from an 18-month search/malware study. We reported on the study yesterday after PC Mag was first to report on it.

The AV-TEST study examined more than 13 million Yandex search results and found malware in about .024 percent — twice the percentage of malware it found in Bing’s search results, and 10 times more than in Google.

In its statement, Yandex says the study “does not provide in-depth information about the AV-Test research principles and methods,” and asks several questions:

  • How did they define what is malware and what is not?
  • Did they take into account the fact that Yandex does not remove potentially malicious websites from its search results page, but rather notifies a user about potentially dangerous sites with a special mark in front of the link?
  • Why is the sample volume of websites so different for some of the search engines tested?
  • What does “malware found” mean? Is it what a search engine found and marked or is it what a researcher found unmarked by a search engine?
  • What was the way for them to collect samples – is it XML or just regular parser?

Yandex says AV-TEST hasn’t responded to these questions yet.

Yandex’s statement explains that it checks more than 23 million web pages per day for malware, and shows searchers more than eight million warnings about possibly dangerous pages — statistics that are available on this Yandex infographic from January (2013). The statement also says that Yandex uses a “proprietary antivirus technology to protect users from malicious software. Yandex marks the infected webpages in its search results in order to notify users of unsafe content. We just notify users of possible consequences and do not block access to the webpage completely.” Yandex includes a link to a page that details its approach to infected websites.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | SEO: Spamming | Top News | Yandex


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Josh

    Troubles in Russia? *Gasps*

  • Jonathan Hochman

    Yandex has raised legitimate points. It is not at all clearcut how to look at a page and determine if it has malware. The best antivirus software only detects 30-40% of malware. What these statistics show is that Google’s detection methods and the study’s detection methods are similar. They both find (and potentially miss) the same things. There is no way to conclude that Google is better than Yandex. A better methodolody would be better to look at the number of pages each search engine crawls and the amount of pages they mark as malware, to see who is finding more malware.

  • Michael Hazell

    I agree. AV-Test has not given clear points on how they determine what is a malicious result and what isn’t.

  • Nick

    Yandex is a malware itself!
    Good, I found an extension (“BlockSite”) and a program (SUPERAntiSpyware ) to avoid having it as a homepage and having its toolbar on the browser. It became popular as not everyone can avoid it. Hate coercion…

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