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Cyber Criminals Launched Oscars Related Scareware Scams

Security researchers at ALWIL Software have warned that as the day for the Oscars award ceremony approaches rapidly (March 7, 2010), hackers are already launching their BHSEO (Black Hat Search Engine Optimization) scams.

They (the researchers) have cautioned that using search engines to look for information regarding nominees of Academy Awards can result in 'scareware.' Scareware is computer software, which pretends to be a security program, particularly antivirus scanner. When these programs infect a PC, fictitious infections have been generated following which the user is asked to buy a license so that the artificial problems can be resolved.

Jindrich Kubec, Senior Programmer at ALWIL, comments that in the currently spreading scareware campaign, when Web-surfers enter keywords like "Clooney Oscar" in Google search engine, they get results poisoned by malevolent web-links. These links lead users via several silent redirects to websites that flood them with false warnings of malware infections, as reported by Softpedia on February 10, 2010.

The fake warnings aim to deceptively make users download scareware online and run it on their PCs. Besides, 'scareware' products don't resolve any problem rather they add more malware infections to the computers. For instance - in the current scam, the scareware is infecting computers with a fake antivirus (FAKEAV), which is a common scareware, circulating worldwide.

Further, Kubec draws everyone's attention to the fact that cyber criminals cash in on every incident, which potentially create lot of interest among Internet users. Besides, it seems that Google might not be able to do much to stop these BHSEO campaigns.

One more instance of this kind of campaign is the recently introduced iPad from Apple. The great amount of media publicity and people curiosity to know more about the product resulted in cyber criminals' poisoned web-links pointing to scareware.

Hence, as scareware scams increase numerically, security experts recommend users that they should maintain up-to-date operating systems, anti-spyware and antivirus programs so that scareware scams may be thwarted. Additionally, they should exercise caution and be selective while following web-links so that they can avert those that result in the download of malicious content.

Related article: Cyber Child abuser Sentenced To Imprisonment

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