Feeds

Richardson death used to bait scareware traps

Off-piste

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
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.
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.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.