On Monday, Sunbelt Software’s security blog revealed that thousands of malware redirects were showing up in search engine results. Network bots designed to post relevant keywords and spam links in various online forms (think forum posts or blog comments) helped attackers claim high-ranking search engine positions for various obscure and seemingly innocuous search terms. According to Sunbelt, two of the thousands of terms were “infinity” and “hospice.” Yeah, that’s cool. Search for hospice information for a sick friend or family member, potentially get your system infected with nasty malware.
On Tuesday, Sunbelt revealed more information about the ill-effects clicking on these fake links could have on a vulnerable system (as a reminder – ALWAYS keep your browser and Internet security tools up to date). Best case scenario – you might end up with one of those annoying toolbars and pop-up ads for fake security software. Worst case? Your computer could be used to generate false-clicks for the attacker’s pay-per click programs (so they infect your system so that you can make them money), or worse still, that bot could load other malware/worms/trojans onto the unprotected system. Further investigation also revealed that these SEO-poisoning attacks were targeted at Google, although other search engines may have also been victim to the attacks.
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