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
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
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
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
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Bad PUPPY: Undead Windows XP deposits fresh scamware on lawn
Installing random interwebs shiz will bork your zombie box
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
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.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
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.