Feeds

Swayze death exploited to serve up fake anti-virus

I've had the crime of my life

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Miscreants have moved swiftly to establish malicious websites designed to rip off users searching for more information on the death of actor Patrick Swayze on Monday.

Black-hat search engine manipulation means that many sites that appear prominently in search engine results point to sites slinging fake anti-virus scanners. Surfers visiting these sites are warned of non-existent security problems in a bid to trick them into buying software of little or no utility. A video (below) from Sophos explains the particulars of the Swayze-themed attack.

Other trending topics including Serena Williams's US Open tennis semi-final outburst video (as explained here) and the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks have also been exploited as themes for scareware traps over recent days.

The mechanism of such attacks in general is growing in sophistication, as well as frequency. In many cases, sites already listed in Google's index for a search term of interest are hacked by the bad guys, with the intention of planting malicious scripts that redirect users onto the scareware payload sites.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, explained: "Sometimes the scareware guys create brand new webpages (new domains) and stuff them with keywords and the like to try and get them high on Google's search results."

"However, the sheer fact that they are newly registered domains makes them more suspicious than domains that have been around for some time, and so this can work against them."

"So, they're breaking into existing sites, creating webpages that are stuffed with relevant keywords in the hope that they will both get higher in search results *and* benefit from the fact that the domain has existed for some time," he added.

Malicious scripts on compromised sites are programmed to avoid forwarding unwitting surfers to the scareware download site unless Google is the referrer. The tactic is designed to help scams to say undetected for longer.

"The fact that the pages do nothing suspicious unless you visit them *via* Google (the referrer thing) is part of their cover," Cluley explained. "They're hoping that inquisitive sysadmins won't realise what's going on - if they do load up the page (without going through Google) they won't see anything suspicious." ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
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?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.