Feeds

Google hoodwinked into pushing Chrome OS scareware

Tamper tantrum

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Rogue anti-virus scammers have tainted search results for Chromium OS - the open source version of Google's Chrome OS - in a bid to expose surfers hunting the web operating system to a fake anti-virus scan scam instead.

Search terms such as "chromium os download" point to sites featuring scripts that redirect stray surfers towards scareware scam portals. These sites falsely report that users PCs are loaded with malware before pushing users to download a clean-up tool little or no utility. The SecureKeeper utility offered through the scam uses a series of aggressive and misleading tricks to coerce people into paying $49.95 to purchase a licence, as explained in a blog post by security firm eSoft here.

Something very similar happened when Google released its Wave collaboration tool. In both cases, surfers are only redirected to scareware-punting portals in cases where they arrive as bobby-trapped URLs via Google search results. Both the Google Wave and Chromium Os scams refer to a product or service that is not yet generally available, a factor that arguably increases the potency of scams.

Both attacks (like many before them) rely on black hat Search Engine Optimisation techniques. Cybercrooks typically break into well-established sites and create webpages stuffed full with relevant keywords, cross-linked to other sites doctored using the same technique. The tactic is geared towards tricking search engines into pushing manipulated URLs higher up the search engine indexes for targeted terms.

"Attackers will regularly change redirect URLs, malware distribution points and final payloads," eSoft explains. "This allows them to keep PageRank high and evade detection by anti-virus programs and web filters."

Such Blackhat SEO attacks are increasingly frequent and almost invariably themed around trending topics, such as the release of the latest edition of the Twilight film saga or Google Chromium OS, to quote just two recent examples from last week alone.. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
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.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?