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Spammers Use Google’s ‘Hot Trends’ for Malicious Links

Security company 'MX Logic' released the MX Logic Threat Forecast & Report for August 2009 on July 28, 2009, which states that online scammers and spammers are utilizing Google to select subjects that could lure Internet surfers to open spam mails and follow malevolent links.

Security researchers at the company said that July 2009 witnessed a rising number of spammers who used popular topic information from Google for determining novel tactics of social engineering, as reported by InformationWeek on July 28, 2009.

Interestingly, Google in its "Hot Trends" feature provides a list of 100 most popular search requests that are periodically updated. Utilizing this information, online crooks design links relating to those search phrases on different Internet sites, which lead to their own malevolent ones.

Since Google's PageRank algorithm handles links as selections for top rankings within the search hits, malevolent websites can be elevated to higher rankings on the search hits pages via manipulating the Google's system. Consequently, a great deal of traffic is generated based on the search phrases' popularity.

This method, according to the report, frees cyber criminals from doing anything extra to promote popular topics through Google as they are created after searching attractive topics. Hence, criminals get the advantage of using search phrases that are already attracting people's attention.

Moreover, the report also states that highly targeted attacks driven by user interest are also being launched against Internet surfers who utilize Google for solving crossword puzzles in The New York Times. Thus, their searches for the clues for puzzles on Google search engine have begun generating links that lead to malicious sites.

Additionally, the report further discovered that levels of spam peaked in July 2009 at a record rate of 94.6% of the total e-mail dispatched. But other threats like viruses through e-mail have constantly decreased.

Predicting about the future, the researchers at MX Logic stated that August 2009 would see fraudulent e-mails, promising fancy football game scoreboard applications, or warning about storms and hurricanes. Besides, spam levels in August would remain constant at which they were recorded during July 2009, MX Logic stated.

Related article: Spammers Continue their Campaigns Successfully

» SPAMfighter News - 8/17/2009

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