The recent and unfortunate Tsunami that occurred in Samoa from an earthquake and Microsoft's release of Security Essentials has sparked an increase in links to rogue anti-virus applications through poisoned search results.
Using popular subject matters as a means of spreading fake security applications over the Internet through poisoned search results is nothing new. At one time, the infamous Swine Flu topic was a popular searched keyword that hackers took advantage of by creating malicious web pages that were linked to through Internet search results.
In recent events, the search keywords "Tsunami", "Earthquake" and "Western Samoa" were returning pages linked to fake anti-virus applications. One of the exploited applications is known to be Windows PC Defender. Windows PC Defender is a fake security program that uses aggressive tactics to make computer users believe that they must purchase the full version of Windows PC Defender to remove parasite threats that it supposedly detected. In the end, this is a way for hackers to get a quick pay-day from the sale of their bogus security software.
Not only are hackers currently using tsunami and earthquake related keywords to poison search results, but the recent release of Microsoft's Security Essentials has prompted hackers to use it as a popular event to take advantage of. They are now flooding search results through malicious web pages related to Security Essentials, which is Microsoft's new and highly anticipated anti-malware application that was just released on September 29th.
Among a wide range of security experts, poisoned search engine results is a well known issue that is become very popular. Unfortunately, there is not much a search engine can do about filtering out the search results that end up sending computer users to a site that pushes rogue security software. Because hackers set-up actual web pages and use SEO (search engine optimization) tactics to rank high in search results, the search engine is unable to decipher them from a legitimate source. Not to mention, some of the links are legitimate domains but were hijacked through injecting malicious code.
The best way to protect yourself from becoming infected with a parasite, or installing a dangerous rogue security application, is by layering your protection. You can easily do this by using free or commercial anti-spyware and anti-virus applications. Many of these programs are updated often by a commercial company allowing them to provide protection against the latest threats.
What was your experience when you searched for a popular term or news event online? Were you sent to a website that downloaded and installed a rogue security program? Share your story with us.