Feeds

Scareware affiliates playing search engines

Scam gets results

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The growing trade in rogue security software is being driven by the gaming of search engines to direct surfers to sites peddling scareware.

Scareware affiliate networks are using black-hat search engine optimisation techniques to drive traffic volumes. To promote their wares, these well-organised cybercrooks are compromising legitimate websites and inject links to SEO-targeted pages which include repetitive references to popular search terms.

The tactic means that compromised websites appear at the top of search results. This black-hat SEO targeted technique yielded almost half a million Google searches to compromised sites, according to stats found on a cybercrime server by net security firm Finjan. A total of 1.8m unique users were diverted to sites peddling rogue anti-virus software during 16 consecutive days.

Scareware applications typically try to frighten users into believing their PCs are riddled with malware, even if their computer is clean, as a ploy designed to trick people in purchasing ineffective clean-up tools.

Between 7-12 per cent of surfers visiting sites punting scareware packages installed the trial version of the fake software, with 1.79 per cent paying $50 for software of little or no utility.

Members of scareware affiliate network made 9.6 cents per redirection, raking in a total of $172,800 or $10,800 per day during the duration of the scam, Finjan estimates.

Finjan's cybercrime report, published on Monday, further explains how the cybercriminals are gaming search engines to promote malware, and can be found here (registration required).

According to a study by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, published last week, the number of rogue anti-malware programs in circulation rose from 2,850 in July to 9,287 in December 2008, more than tripling in the space of only six months.

Campaigns promoting traffic to sites punting scareware packages have been themed around the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson and the recent confusion around the Norton forum 'Pifts' purge, which followed in the wake of an accidental distribution of an unsigned program update by Symantec.®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?