Gary Warner, a computer forensics expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said online scammers used to distribute malicious software through spam, or unwanted e-mail. But now, he said, cyber criminals are changing their tactics and targeting victims through search engines.
"It's growing. It's been going on for more than two years," he said. But "in the past three months, it's become the predominant way of spreading malware.
"We're seeing major malware programs stop sending spam and doing it all this way," he added.
To protect themselves, Internet surfers should adjust their Internet browser settings so that the browser doesn't run any program unless users actively give it the green light, Warner said.
McAfee's Keats cautioned users to stay in the "well-lighted" parts of the Internet, for example, downloading a Beyonce screensaver from her fan page instead of an obscure Web site.
He also warned Internet surfers that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a link promises free downloads of the all the latest hit songs, chances are it's leading you to a risky Web site, he said.
"The Web is a great resource and we should absolutely be using it, but you've got to use the safe rules of the road," Keats said. "What's true in the offline world is true online, too."
For the complete list of the 50 most dangerous search terms, click on to the next page.
1. word unscrambler
4. free music downloads
5. phelps, weber-gale, jones and lezak win 4x100m relay
6. free music
7. game cheats
8. printable fill in puzzles
9. free ring tones
12. make money
13. viva la vida (coldplay) lyrics
14. touch my body lyrics
15. love song lyrics
16. lollipop lyrics
17. my life (lil wayne) lyrics
20. the price is right
21. kimbo slice
26. music downloads
29. paper planes (m.i.a.) lyrics
30. no air lyrics
31. with you (chris brown) lyrics
34. free e-cards
35. text twist
36. bleeding love lyrics
37. no air by jordin sparks feat. chris brown
39. mixed wrestling
40. zuma rossdale
41. paris hilton
42. pamela anderson
43. free compatibility reports
44. free people search
45. song lyrics
49. casey and caylee anthony