Feeds

Google Doodle poisoned by scareware slingers

How do you say ne'er do wells in Esperanto?

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Scareware slingers have begun hiding links to rogue anti-virus sites behind Google Doodle.

The development leaves surfers who click on Google's picture of the day at risk of being exposed to sites that run fake security scans, before strong-arming users into buying worthless software in order to clean-up non-existent security risks

Scammers have been manipulating the search engine ranking of terms in the news to promote scamware portals for months. In the latest twist to this wheeze, fraudsters poisoned the sites offered up to surfers who clicked on Google's front-page Doodle sketch, dedicated to the 150th anniversary of birth of the creator of the Esperanto language, L. L. Zamenhof, on Tuesday.

The latest variant to previous black hat search engine optimisation techniques resulted in links to hacked pages on legitimate websites, including a hair Salon in New Jersey and a science fiction site. Users visiting these sites via Google (and only via Google) are redirected towards scareware scam portals.

Tainted results appeared among the top five to 10 search results for people who clicked on the Google doodle link on Tuesday, according to security researchers at Barracuda Networks. "Poisoning as a trend is nothing new, but in this particular case, it's a search where you actually click on Google's logo and you get results back from sites where half of the links have been compromised," Dave Michmerhuizen, a research scientist at Barracuda Networks, told MacWorld.

Google, which stated other search engines are also targeted by black hat search engine optimisation techniques, said most of the tainted links were quickly removed from its index. Google uses a combination of continuously-refined automated and manual processes to clean-up its index, a spokesman for the search engine giant added.

Google and security researchers are in a continuous battle against distributors of rogue anti-virus scanners, one of the most prevalent information security threats contaminating the internet at present. FBI estimates out this week suggest that the scareware market brought in $150m in illicit income over an unspecified period.

An FBI Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) advisory on the scareware menace can be found here. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
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
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.