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PandLabs – Cyber Criminals Developing Bogus Search Engines

PandaLabs, an antivirus firm located in Madrid, has found that cyber criminals are indulged in creating specialized search engines that take visitors directly to the pages which install malware such as an antivirus program on their systems.

PandaLabs said that the rising sophistication level of malicious attacks indicated to the growing professionalization in the cyber world. In fact, one search engine identified by the security company had 195,000 users who systems could be corrupted.

Earlier, cyber criminals used to use malicious Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or 'Blackhat SEO' tricks to raise the ranking of their malicious pages on popular search engines. Now the scenario has changed and criminals have started using their self developed search engines to take online users directly to pages infested with malicious codes, said PandaLabs.

Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs, has said that a user gets normal occasional results among the malicious ones. He also reveals that normal results appear to make the user believes that he is using the genuine search engine, as reported by ITBUSINESSEDGE on May 7, 2009.

It has been found that three legitimate looking search engines have been successfully operating since January 2009. They seem to be run by the same group of cyber crooks whose blackhat SEO techniques are very successful. As per the publicly obtainable data on Web traffic, two of the search engines crossed the mark of 250,000 unique visitors in March 2009.

The first search engine is expected to have nearly 257,512 unique visitors, an increase of 63.64% since April 2009. The second search engine has approximately 279,665 visitors, with a rise of 64.26%. However, the third engine lacks behind the other two with 39,175 unique visitors, up 22.63% from April 2009.

Moreover, the first search engine receives 60.08% of the Web traffic from Google and the second one also gets traffic of around 12.87% from Google. Google also plays a critical role in sending Web traffic to third search engine, accounting for 26.55% of the traffic. Due to successful blackhat SEO campaigns, Google prominently appear on the top of their traffic refers.

Meanwhile, PandaLabs has asked online users to use only popular and trustworthy search engines. It also asks that they should be careful of sites that contain luring content.

Related article: PandaLabs Report Discusses Movie Trojan and Other Worms

» SPAMfighter News - 5/19/2009

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