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Scareware Campaigns Using 2010 World Cup as Bait: PandaLabs

According to PandaLabs, the anti-malware laboratory of Panda Security, recently several webpages have been observed circulating fake anti-virus by means of blackhat search engine optimization technique or BHSEO attacks launched by skilled cyber criminals.

All such infected pages appear in top search results related to the FIFA World Cup 2010 when sports enthusiasts typed in some search terms on Google. Some of the targeted search terms are: World Cup Brackets 2010 Fifa, World Cup Brackets 2010 Printable, Worldcup, World Cup Schedule 2010, and Espn World Cup Schedule.

PandaLabs identifies the fake anti-virus (better known as scareware) being pushed through these search terms as MySecurityEngine. This fake software alters the desktop setting of the victim to display fake security alerts and takes over the browser to divert the user to useless sites. The software also installs malicious files and downloads itself automatically onto the victim's PC, which makes it difficult to get rid of this software. It deceives user into purchasing its full version.

Luis Corrons, Technical Director at PandaLabs, said that the World Cup is currently the hottest topic around the world which hackers are exploiting to the maximum possible extent, as per the news published by sacbee.com on June 9, 2010.

Suggesting ways to avoid such attacks, Corrons stated that it would be best to make use of a little common sense while surfing the Internet. He advised to turn down requests from strangers and to avoid opening files coming from unknown sources. One should also ensure that he has proper anti-virus solution in place and that it is updated regularly.

To conclude, this observation of PandLabs was anticipated by security experts well in advance, before the World Cup started. They had already anticipated increase in search engine manipulation, along with other malicious attacks, based on World Cup to redirect users searching for news and videos related to the event towards scareware pushing websites, especially upon the commencement of the World Cup.

Related article: SecureWorks Identifies Bank and Information Stealing Trojan Coreflood

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