Content creators are putting themselves at risk when searching and downloading creative software, new research has found.
A report from Surfshark in partnership with the University of Maryland, studied Google search results to identify which software is – in its words – “the most dangerous to search for online.”
According to the report (opens in new tab), Avid’s audio editor tools were found to be the most dangerous – 64.4% of search engine results contained potentially harmful malware. This was followed by Adobe Substance 3D Painter, UI design tool Sketch, and Substance 3D Stager.
The most dangerous game
In order to identify the riskiest creative software users can download, the VPN provider Googled the most-reviewed tools, adding “download” and “torrent” as qualifiers to generate the list.
The firm then ran all URLs from the first five pages through a malware detector. The percentages reflect any web address marked as a medium risk or higher.
Of the top ten creative software packages flagged as “most dangerous”, the Adobe suite dominates – perhaps unsurprising given that the business has become the go-to for content creators with its range of video editing software, graphic design tools, DTP software, and photo editors.
Alongside Adobe products, popular digital art tool CorelDRAW and Maxon Cinema 4D also make an appearance on the list.
Surfshark also ran the search across other categories, including small business software, social media marketing tools, crypto wallets, and browsers.
“Expensive software and user licenses have created a large demand for torrented software, making it the perfect opportunity for hackers to strike and insert malware into seemingly normal links. On average, roughly 1 in 3 search results for software contain potential malware,” the company said.
But how can users stay protected? The answer is simple: by downloading and paying for them, via the official site.
|Software||% of URLs flagged with potential malware|
|Substance 3D Painter||57.32|
|Substance 3D Stager||56.25|
|Maxon Cinema 4D||55.10|