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Black hats poison Google video search

Game for a hack

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Miscreants have poisoned Google Video search results in a bid to trick the unwary into getting infected with malware.

Instead of video clips, researchers at Trend Micro discovered that around 400,000 queries returning malicious results that lead to a single redirection point, which leads onto an array of maliciously constructed websites designed to load malware onto vulnerable Windows PCs. The strain of malware spread using the attack - named as AQPlay-A by Trend Micro - poses as a Abode Flash Player update that's supposedly needed to view video content.

Running the software on unprotected PCs leads to infection. The malware is also programmed to spread via removable and network drives.

Hackers behind the attack have been careful to camouflage the assault. Trend Micro reckons the VXers organising the assault are maintaining a large number of domains, each full of keywords, so that these pages appear at the high in search results when users enter targeted search queries.

The approach is typical of one type of search engine optimisation malfeasance, but the Google Video attack takes things one step further, by incorporating detection-evasion technique. Only users who are redirected from Google Video are prompted to download the booby-trapped Flash Player executable, Trend Micro warns.

The attack is unrelated to a snafu in Google search on Sunday that briefly resulted in the search giant labelling every site on the internet as infected with malware. Google blames the cock-up on human error. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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