Are iPhone wallpapers dangerous? Well – according to recent research – it depends on what sites you go to to find them!

SiteAdvisor   product shotspacer1.jpgBut first – what do we mean by dangerous? Well, we’ve all had that nasty experience when we go searching for sites where we can get information, or freebies or entertainment or news…. whatever, and instead, the minute we click on it, we start having a file downloaded to our computer THAT WE DO NOT WANT! And we hit the panic button, right? These are sites that attempt to access our computer without our consent. This is the work of cyber criminals –  who aim to get us to download a file or program that comes with a malicious payload.

They have many strategies – and not all of them are as obvious as the example above. In fact, according to recent research done by McAfee in conjunction with Hitwise, these cyber crooks target many popular search terms that are related to downloading. So when we go looking for “wallpapers”,  “screensavers”, “software”and so on, we are potentially going to visit dangerous sites and/or download potentially dangerous malaware.

The research found that the most targeted (riskiest) search terms are:

 ”screensavers,” with an average risk of 34.4 percent, followed by “free games” (6.8 percent), “work from home” (3.1 percent), “Rihanna” (2.4 percent), “Wekbinz” (1.9 percent), “powerball” (1.5 percent) and “iPhone” and the “Jonas brothers,” both at 1.2 percent. 

McAfee also provide a free tool that tells us which sites are dangerous. Its free and does take the worry out of our search for downloads – the following screen shots show how it works.

iphone wallpapers download dangers

McAfee has automated testers that continually patrol the web and set the safety rating based on results. Sites are rated as dangerous (red cross, or – as shown above – can be set to be highlighted in red), “caution!” – minor risk (yellow cross or highlights) and SAFE (green cross or highlights).

The following image show some of the results for the search term “iphone screensaver” where we found (using SiteAdvisor) that  15% of the top 100 sites were regarded as dangerous or risky! The first one of these is a site that offers iPhone wallpapers!

iphone wallpapers download dangers

By contrast, the search term “free iPhone wallpapers” only resulted in one site being redflagged – although it was the fourth site in the Google results. And the search term “iPhone wallpapers” also only had this one site redflagged (it was number 35 for this search term in Google. We noticed that some of the sites listed are not rated by the SiteAvisor – because they are too new. This may be a way for cyber crooks to evade beeing red flagged as they are super fast at adapting to means of detection.  We have decided to avoid a site that has not been tested.

But, you will be happy to know that your favorite iPhone Downloads site has been given the green light of puredom by the McAfee:


The tool is actually fun to use – you can download it here.

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