Posts Categorized: Blackhat SEO


New Rogue Is Actually Five Rogues in One

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For years, the makers of those snake oil security programs we call Rogue Security Products have spent considerable effort making up new names, developing unique graphic design standards, and inventing backstories for their utterly useless, expensive scam products. Now a new rogue has taken this never ending shell game one step further, releasing a single program that calls itself one of five different names, depending on what button an unfortunate victim clicks in a highly deceptive dialog box. Let’s call it what it really is, though: A malicious play in five acts. The rogue’s delivery method, or Act 1 in […]

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Blackhat SEO of Google Images Links to Rogue AV

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Yesterday, a few of the Threat Research folks and I had a little fun playing with a hack that had, for one day at least, pretty much decimated Google’s Image Search feature. One researcher, who stumbled into the attack purely by chance, found that a Google Images link to a map of the United States was, instead, redirecting hapless Web surfers to pages that deliver an installer of a rogue antivirus in the Security Tool family of fine, fraudulent products. What really caught our interest was how the hack behaved, depending on the operating system and browser you used. With […]

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Modified Websites Pushing Trojans On the Rise

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For the past couple of weeks, owners of Web sites have been hit with a wave of attacks that surreptitiously infect unsuspecting visitors with a wide variety of malware types. The first wave inflicted rogue antivirus on unlucky victims, but late last week victims who visited infectious sites were redirected into a drive-by download site that pushes clickers onto a vulnerable visitor’s computer. The affected web sites have been modified to add malicious, obfuscated Javascript code to the footer of each page. Some Web hosts are trying to notify customers or fix the problems. At first, the problem affected sites […]

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’30 Rock’ Phrase ‘Circulus et Pruna’ Draws Fakealerts

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Every search result on the first page (and most of the second page) of results for “circulus et pruna” leads to a Fakealert trap.

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Fakealerts Invade Google Image Search Results for ’24′ Star

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Searchers beware: Those photos of celebrities or funny cat pictures that turn up in your Google image search results might not be photos at all, but fake antivirus alerts. Evidence appears to indicate that a similar scam to one we blogged about last November may be working its way up the Google food chain into other forms of search results. While searching for photos of Annie Wersching, an actress who recently joined the cast of the TV show 24, we stumbled into one of these javascript-enabled fakealert browser traps. Oddly enough, when you click one of these bogus linked pictures […]

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Ron Paul, Beyonce Tease a Drive-By Rogue AV

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Here’s a mind-bender for you to ponder over the holidays: What do diva musician Beyonce, the massively-multiplayer game World of Warcraft, the anime series Naruto, and Libertarian politician (and failed presidential candidate) Ron Paul have in common? I couldn’t guess what you might come up with, but we’ve found a drive-by download attack that delivers malware, using these disparate icons as a hook to convince Web surfers to click malicious links. The hack attempt was discovered by a Threat Research Analyst who also happens to be a Ron Paul fanatic (and I do mean fanatic — that’s a photo of […]

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Fakealerts Target Black Friday Online Shoppers

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Now that the turkey and pumpkin pie has settled, and everyone’s gotten a good night’s sleep, shoppers are busily hustling the Web for the best deals. I’ve been doing the same thing, and wanted to share some of my tips that may help you avoid becoming snared in the most prolific cyberscam of the moment: fake virus alert messages (otherwise known as fakealerts). For months, the perpetrators of this fraud have been honing their skills at targeting malicious web pages to rise in search results for  whatever is in the popular zeitgeist-of-the-moment. Victims experience a computer that appears to be […]

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Fakealerts: Building a Better Mousetrap

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In general, the use of fakealerts – those bogus warnings that look like your PC has started some sort of antivirus scan on its own, then predict imminent doom if you don’t buy some snake oil product right this minute — is on the rise. Fakealerts constitute a particularly effective social engineering trick, earning the makers of bogus, ineffective “antivirus” programs millions of dollars (and the scorn of victims) in the process. So it should come as no surprise that the fakealerts themselves have gone through some technological advances in the past year. In the past few months, the fakealert-makers […]

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Rogues Mug Big Bird on his Birthday

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In a move sure to raise the ire of Sesame Street fans everywhere, the black hat SEO gangs that have been manipulating Google results for the better part of the year have seized on a new target from which they’ve launched their current salvo of rogue antivirus guano. That’s right, the lovable, giant jaundiced avian friend to child and adult alike is being used to hijack searches and rope unsuspecting users into a vortex of popups and fake scans. They have besmirched Big Bird. And on his birthday, of all days. Have the rogue AV purveyors no shame? Actually, they’ve […]

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Postmortem Michael Jackson Track Dredges Rogues

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As we’ve discussed so many times in the past, search terms that include the names of celebrities make good targets for malware authors, and search terms that include the name of dead celebrities make great targets for malware authors. Now there’s a new corollary to this postulate: Search terms that include the names of dead celebrities who release new material make fantastic targets for the bottom-feeders of the malware-distribution world. So, as you’re out there searching for the brand new Michael Jackson track, please be aware that the bad guys are using this opportunity to foist malware onto your machine. […]

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