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Hackers & Scareware Distributors Target Oscar Ceremony

Sophos, an IT control and security company, has issued an alert that hackers are capitalizing on the Oscar film awards announcement of March 7, 2010 to contaminate unsuspecting end-users' computers with malware.

Sophos has revealed that movie lovers are doing online search to get the latest news and rumors regarding the winners of the Academy Awards. They are feeding keywords such as "Oscar Winners," which has become the most profusely entered search term online.

Nevertheless, by employing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics, hackers have set up websites filled with material apparently associated with 'The Oscars.' However, the websites actually drop malware on users' systems.

Graham Cluley, Senior Technology Consultant, Sophos, states that a lot of people who didn't get the opportunity for viewing the Oscar ceremony when telecasted on the TV are likely to surf on the Internet. This will be chiefly to know if their favorite movie received a prize. However, if users click carelessly, it could result in a malware installation, explains Cluley, as reported by Webuser on March 8, 2010.

Sophos identifies the malware as Mal/FakeAVJs-A, while the bogus antivirus as Troj/FakeAV-AXS.

Cluley adds that bogus AV attacks (or 'scareware') aren't anything new. According to him, hackers often abuse hot subjects, as reported by Sophos on March 8, 2010.

Cluley highlights that people should access reputed news websites to get current news as that'll keep them much safer, instead of faltering on dangerous web-pages where hackers lay their traps.

Indeed, the Oscars ceremony wasn't the sole such TV telecast abused for spreading malware. SANS, another security company, reported about a same kind of bogus antivirus campaign, which attacked online searchers for "Billy the Exterminator."

To remain safe from the current malware scam, users are suggested that they should act carefully while following web-links. Moreover, they should make sure that their computers have up-to-date security software.

Apart from the Oscars, cyber criminals recently targeted the Brit Awards function too, using similar scareware assaults. According to security researchers, the criminals abuse anything searched for online with scareware assaults; for instance - the Air France Flight 447 accident, and the Haiti and Chile earthquake disasters.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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