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Chile Earthquake Facilitates the Increase of Rogue Anti-Virus

Security researchers are warning of cybercriminals who are cashing in on the massive Chile earthquake, which took place on February 27, 2010. The criminals are apparently poisoning search engine results about the disaster to push scareware.

Scareware, according to experts, is fake software which claims to aid computer users in safeguarding their systems. However, in reality, it produces bogus and misleading warnings and may even try to deceive the end-user into buying software that's of no use.

According to the researchers at the security firm Symantec, it's observed that cyber crooks are corrupting online hunts related to popular search phrases like "Chile Earthquake". Consequently, the returns emanating from these phrases are taking Web-surfers onto fake anti-virus sites that carry out phony anti-virus scans.

Once this scan is over, or if the user attempts to move off the webpage, they would see the offer of downloading anti-virus files. But Symantec has detected these downloads as rogue anti-virus software - VirusDoctor or Trojan.FakeAV.

Indeed, Symantec's discoveries appear similar to that made by Sophos and Websense security researchers.

Revealed Websense, normally the web-links appearing within the search returns seem just as common links leading to routine pages. But in the current case, the criminals have made their search returns appear still more persuasive. They've duped the Google search engine into believing that it is PDF file. But in reality, it is a routine HTML page, which will divert Web-surfers to a rogue anti-virus fake scanning webpage, the security company explained. Softpedia.com reported this on March 1, 2010.

Moreover, talking about cyber-criminals' malicious operations, Senior Security Advisor for Sophos, Chester Wisniewski, stated that when looking for the latest news on search engines, one needs to know that attackers frequently post web-links at a faster speed as compared to the genuine news sites, reported findmysoft.com on March 1, 2010.

To conclude, there's nothing new in the exploitation of a natural disaster by cybercriminals. The Haiti earthquake in January 2010 similarly set off an increase in malicious operations, with malware spreading through videos pretending as earthquake footages, but in actual led to malicious websites.

Related article: Cal Poly Institute Encounters Spamming Worm

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