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Hackers Exploiting ‘March Madness’ Tournament to Spread Malware

As per the security news released by several security firms in the third week of March 2009, "March Madness", basketball championship among the US universities, became a lucrative target for hackers to spread malware.

Malware distributors are excessively using keywords related with the event like tournament, bracket and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to infect visitors' computers.

In majority of cases, links direct users to an unknown site where a fake malware scan is offered to visitors and encourages them to download a file known as install.exe which itself hosting a malware.

Dan Hubbard, Chief Technology Officer, Websense, states that it is not inevitable to follow the instructions mentioned in a pop-up that surprisingly comes on your screen, as reported by WSJ Blogs on March 20, 2009.

Moreover, users need to careful of URLs in blog comments on 'March Madness' as they have malware inserted in them and take users to fake antivirus scanning sites, said Websense. The security company further states that hackers are using deceptive SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques to raise the ranking of their malicious sites on various search engines, including Google.

Spencer Parker, Director of Product Management at ScanSafe, a web security firm, said that although Google was very active in blacklisting the malicious websites, users need to be very careful while searching on it, as reported by SCMagazineUS on March 17, 2009.

As the fever of 'March Madness' is rising among people, some companies have to block the access to legitimate sites displaying streaming videos to avoid traffic congestion. Hence, people search for the streaming videos on the Internet which lead them to malicious website that potentially download malware on their systems, said Mark Parker, Product Manager at Marshal8e6, an online security firm, as reported by March 17, 2009.

Therefore, basketball lovers are recommended to be cautious while opening any link related to 'March Madness'. Users and companies should also equip themselves with the latest antivirus solutions and users should not carried away by the glitterati surrounding the sporting extravaganza.

According to security researchers, cyber criminals are increasingly using sporting events as bait to infect computers with malware. In 2008, Olympics Games received attention of cyber criminals who used it to disseminate malware.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

» SPAMfighter News - 3/26/2009

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