Feeds

Google Doodle poisoned by scareware slingers

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.