Feeds

Scareware scams spill onto Skype

And are you interested in double glazing, while you're here?

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Scareware spreaders have started to use Skype to spread their cash-sapping crud.

The VoIP channel has joined malicious manipulated search results, malicious online advertisements, Facebook messages and iFrame contaminated sites as a means to spread rogue "anti-virus" software scans.

Sean-Paul Correll, a security researcher a Panda Security, explains that under its latest guise, scareware scams appear as spam messages sent to personal Skype accounts.

The message poses as originating from an account called "Online Notification" and claims to have discovered infection on a supposedly compromised PC. Once the prospective mark visits the linked site for "more information", a fake antivirus scan takes place that warns a system is crawling with malware in a bid to coerce potentially alarmed users into buying a clean-up utility of no value.

"Rogueware distributors are like the cockroaches of the Internet; they’re everywhere," Correll notes.

One strain of scareware detected by Panda disables all applications on a compromised PC except the rogueware utility and IE. A browser is left available because it's needed for a victim to hand over payment to rogues. After receiving funds, the full version of the scareware package reactivates disabled applications.

Black hat SEO tactics remain the main tactic for seeding scareware traps. Typically, a topical subject is exploited as a theme before a mainstream website is attacked and multiple links on related subjects are posted. The ruse is designed to propel the targeted site up the rankings in Google's index for the term.

Surfers who follow tainted search results onto a compromised site are redirected to scareware download sites, but only if they are referred from Google. Computer users who visit a compromised site directly will not be redirected.

Google has established a custom search page - www.anti-malvertising.com - designed to assist customers of ad networks to uncover possible attempts to distribute malware through advertising, a concern highlighted by the recent New York Times rogueware attack. Security researchers from the search engine have also become active participants in closed mailing lists discussing scareware and the wider cybercrime problem. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.