The latest internet craze over “KStew”–Kristen Stwart’s Affair has put inquisitive minds searching on the Internet in harm’s way with over 20% of related search results found to host malware.
It is a never-ending trend for hackers and cybercrooks to take advantage of the latest craze, hot news topics, and even Hollywood affairs to spread or host malware. It is actually an old tactic for hackers to flood Internet search results related to hot news topics with malware-laden results. It just so happens that Kristen Stewart and her so-called “love affair”, is a particularly hot topic searched for over the Internet.
Security researchers have delved into examining Internet search results related to currently hot news topics. Kristen Stewart, known for her acting roles in The Twilight Saga and the new Snow White and the Huntsman movie, remains to be the talk of the town about her affair and life as a spotlight Hollywood actor. Everyone wants to be-in-the-know of ‘KStew’s’ life. Hackers know this very thing and are at the forefront of taking advantage of the heavy search traffic for Kristen Stewart, and everything that revolves around her outwardly scrutinized Hollywood lifestyle.
It has been estimated by the company Barracuda, that 20 to 25 percent of Kristen Stewart-related online content has some type of malicious content attached. With such an alarming rate, you may want to think twice about searching the Internet to find out of Kristen Stewart is back with Rob Pattinson.
Spammers and malware creators have formed specialized techniques to stuff targeted backlinks with specific terms. Some of the terms used in the latest findings of malicious search results related to Kristen Stewart, have been terms such as “kristen stewart cheating”, “kristen stewart pictures”, “kristen stewart twitter”, “kristen stewart affair” and other variations.
Figure 1. Search volume results for the rising “kristen stewart” terms. Source: Google Insights.
In some instances of lacing Internet search results with malware, hackers utilize a method called clickjacking. Clickjacking is a process where computer users may receive shortened URL links to hot and juicy tops either on their Facebook wall or Twitter feed. The shortened URL link in these clickjacking schemes, usually redirect a computer user’s browser to a malicious site. The redirected site may vary from a full-on phishing scam designed to steal personal information, to a site that runs malicious scripts to install malware directly onto the affected system. Often, hackers want to make money fast so they will use fake antispyware programs like Live Security Platinum and Security Shield to get you to spend money.
It is almost as if cybercrooks who are in the business of lacing Internet search results with malicious links, follow an editorial calendar. Come a popular holiday such as Christmas, you can guarantee an outbreak of malicious links populating search results for Christmas topics. If there is a new movie out expecting a large crowd, such as The Twilight Saga starting Kristen Stewart, the chances remains that hackers are busy flooding search results related to that specific movie with hosted malware. Even if there is a natural disaster occurrence anywhere in the world, you bet your butt that hackers will make a mockery out of the disaster with related spam campaigns and poisoned Internet search results.
You may be asking, how do hackers poison Internet search results? Hackers are able to “game” search engines by using Blackhat SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques. These sometimes include use of a malicious or scammed website, a legitimate site that was compromised by hackers.
In any calculated Internet search result poisoning case, computer users are strongly urged to be mindful of searching for popular subject matter. Google has ramped up their efforts to combat poisoned or malicious search results. Google’s search engine will display the words “This site may harm your computer” when a search query would return sites detected as being malicious. The only thing, the site must already be classified as malicious. With the speed that hackers act, it may be too late for a number of computer users before a site is found to be malicious.
Have you tried a search related to Kristen Stewart lately? Did you find what you were looking for on a legitimate site or did you suspect the site was malicious?