Feeds

Richardson death used to bait scareware traps

Off-piste

High performance access to file storage

Criminal hackers are exploiting interest in news of the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson on Wednesday to bait scareware traps.

Cybercrooks are busy creating malicious webpages and filling them with keywords related to the actress's untimely death following a skiing accident earlier this week, according to net security firm Sophos. The ruse, which takes advantage of content scraped from legitimate news websites, is designed to create a high search engine ranking for sites harbouring malicious code.

Users who wind up happening across maliciously constructed websites will be exposed to a malicious script, categorised by Sophos as Reffor-A, designed to alarm users into purchasing a scareware package. Such scareware (fake anti-virus) packages are among the internet's fastest growing nuisances. These applications typically attempt to frighten users into thinking their computers are riddled with malware, even if the PC is clean, as a ruse designed to trick people in purchasing ineffective clean-up tools.

A full write-up of the attack can be found on a Sophos security blog here. As Sophos notes, the incident shows it's safer to go to a trusted news outlet of your choice directly rather than using a search engine to find the latest updates on breaking news stories.

Hackers regularly take advantage of breaking news story, often acting in advance of any kind of security response. For example, hackers exploited confusion created by the Symantec / PIFTS.EXE incident earlier this month and similar keyword stuffing tactics, to draw surfers towards rogue sites, also punting fake anti-malware scanning software. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.