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Scareware Distributed Through ‘Red Dead Redemption’

Security researchers report that cyber-criminals are taking advantage of people's excitement about the well-known 'Read Dead Redemption' game featuring the Wild West theme for distributing scareware (also called rogueware or fake anti-virus).

At one time, the game apparently requires players to hunt for treasure, but security researchers cautioned that anybody attempting to search gold bars should exercise vigilance while looking for hints on the Internet.

Elaborating on the attack, Chris Boyd (Senior Threat Researcher at Sunbelt Software) stated that cyber-crooks had manipulated the results on search engines so that several websites which appeared on higher ranks based on common search terms led to scareware sites. When Web-surfers on Google accessed those sites, they got fake security alerts that their computers had malware, which only frightened them, he said, as reported by Theregister on June 2, 2010.

Furthermore, Boyd stated that from experience, it was known that people would not download and execute the product from these scareware sites. And still more people would pay money during the bargain for unlocking the suggested 'full version' of the wholly worthless product, he added, as reported by Webuser on June 2, 2010.

The researcher further blogged that they hadn't observed the current BlackHat Search Engine Optimization scam target the game's other aspects. However, this didn't imply that it wouldn't occur at all, as reported by Sunbeltblog.blogspot on June 2, 2010.

Boyd therefore advised players that it was important they remained guarded during the game.

Actually, scareware or fake security software has been attacking more-and-more innocent computer users for a long period. Accordingly, Microsoft, the software giant, in its report for H2-2009 points out that it spotted and eliminated malware downloaded from fake security software on 7.8 Million PCs during H2-2009 - a rise from 5.3 Million PCs during H1-2009. Consequently, such software has been enabling cyber-criminals, distributing it, to reap large profits, Microsoft observes.

According to the security analysts, scareware attacks frequently revolve around current news events like natural calamities, celebrity deaths, etc. But cashing in on the buzz that a widely favored video game created demonstrates that cyber-miscreants have changed techniques.

Related article: SecureWorks Identifies Bank and Information Stealing Trojan Coreflood

» SPAMfighter News - 11-06-2010

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