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Rogues besmirch F-Secure with dodgy ad campaign

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Miscreants have attempted to trick users interested in finding out more about Finnish security firm F-secure into buying a rogue utility.

Searching for "F-Secure" on Thursday lead to the rogue products, not through the usual method of black-hat Search Engine Optimization but through malicious Google ads.

The dodgy ads pointed to update-xp.com, a utility that claimed to fix problems with F-Secure's software. In reality the utility reports a plethora of non-existent problems in a bid to scare marks into handing over $34.95 for a full version of the ErrorRepair tool.

F-Secure reported the problem to Google, which acted promptly to pull the rogue ads. The incident raises questions about whether cheeky hackers might simply pay for ads for rogue security products in future, instead of using hacking tricks to subvert Google's Page Rank algorithm.

F-secure has been among the most prominent voices over recent weeks warning that hackers were promoting scareware by using hacking techniques. These black-hat SEO techniques involve gaming Google and other search engines into giving a high search engine ranking to pages punting rogue security products of little or no utility.

A full write-up of the attack, including screen shots, can be found in a blog posting by F-Secure here. ®

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