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Scareware scams ride the back of killer whale tragedy

Black hats pee in the pool again

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Supposed footage of Wednesday's fatal Sea World killer whale attack in Florida actually points at sites distributing scareware.

Dawn Brancheau, 40, a trainer at Sea World in Orlando, lost her life yesterday after a killer whale attack. Miscreants have wasted no time is exploiting the tragedy, as so many before it, by setting up malware traps designed to ensnare the unwary.

Black hat search engine trickery is once again being used to drive traffic to these sites, by planting links to malware portals in Google results for searches terms related to the tragedy, such as "killer whale video pictures".

Users who follow poisoned links will be warned of supposed security risks on their PCs in an effort to persuade them to try and then buy fake anti-virus software of little or no utility, as explained in a blog posting by Sophos here.

Just about any newsworthy tragedy is likely to be used as a theme to promote scareware portals these days, one of the easiest mechanisms for cybercrooks to make money.

In related news, Twitter profiles compromised by a run of phishing attacks earlier this week have begun pushing out links to fake anti-virus portals. Because of this malign activity, users of Twitter search need to be especially careful, warns Sunbelt Software security researcher, Chris Boyd. ®

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