Sometimes I think that Google and other search engines should have a sign at the top of the page: Surf at your own risk!
Every time you perform a Web search and click on an unfamiliar site, you take a risk that the site is loaded with malware or is an SEO-laden site that is nothing but spam. Of course, you are at risk even when visiting familiar, trusted sites because you never know if the bad guys have attacked them (often through advertising placements).
The good news is that companies are understanding the risks involved in Web browsing and security solutions are making their way to the market. Google is notifying users of hacked sites in its search returns. Zscaler introduced a Firefox plugin for safe shopping. The plugin identifies retail sites that have been compromised with malicious code or script. Trusteer works with banks to promote safer Web browsing in financial situations.
And one of the most recent releases for more secure Web browsing comes from M86 Security, which introduced its SecureBrowsing plugin this week. The plugin works with IE and Firefox and alerts users of dangerous links in searches and in social media sites.