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Japan Earthquake News Exploited by Cyber Hackers

As per the Trend Micro researchers, within few hours of disastrous earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011, cybercrooks started taking advantage of the disaster by initiating several kinds of malware campaigns.

Security experts stated that, users looking for updates on "the most recent earthquake in Japan" may come across harmful links to bogus anti-virus (FAKEAV) software. malware creators have used blackhat search engine optimization (BHSEO) manipulation methods to place these poisoned links on top of the search results.

Norman Ingal, a Threat Response Engineer at Trend Micro stated that, they quickly monitored for possible attacks after the news broke out and as expected, they noticed web pages inserted with key words associated with the earthquake, as reported by v3, UK on March 11, 2011.

Ingal further stated that one of the websites found by Trend Micro resulted in a FAKEAV variant that it presently identifies as Mal_FakeAV-25.

Trend Micro stated that FAKEAV programs, a kind of malware, also called as scareware or rogueware, tries to cheat users into buying worthless licenses by wrongly claiming that their systems are compromised.

Security researchers at Trend Micro stated that Blackhat SEO (BHSEO), which results in antivirus, is still a common kind of web attack, as reported by Softpedia on March 11, 2011.

Security experts stated that, the aforementioned statement becomes more authentic, considering the BHSEO campaigns after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2009 California wildfires, the recent floods in Brazil, Australia and the Philippines, and even the last month (February 2011) Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand.

Besides, maximum of BHSEO attacks have conventionally taken place on Google, however as the company has improvised on its detection, hackers are progressively targeting other search engines also. Thus, users using other search engines, such as Yahoo!, Bing should remain vigilant and should not fell prey to such harmful scams.

Therefore, the best way to avoid BHSEO campaigns is to stay alert and click only on results from authentic and reliable sources for news in such instances.

Related article: Japan – Reinforce Spam Laws

» SPAMfighter News - 3/23/2011

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