Poisoned Search Results: How Hackers Have Automated Search Engine Poisoning Attacks to Distribute Malware

Technical paper

This paper describes recent research by SophosLabs into how attackers are using blackhat Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques to stuff legitimate websites with content designed to rank highly in search engine results, yet redirect users to malicious sites. These websites are being used to distribute rogue security products (also known as “scareware” or “fake antivirus”) onto users' computers.

Sophos researchers have analysed the malicious SEO kits used by hackers to create networks of thousands of crosslinked pages containing search friendly content on hot trending topics, hosted on compromised, legitimate websites.

Download Poisoned search results: How hackers have automated search engine poisoning attacks to distribute malware.

This paper describes recent research by SophosLabs into how attackers are using blackhat Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques to stuff legitimate websites with content designed to rank highly in search engine results, yet redirect users to malicious sites. These websites are being used to distribute rogue security products (also known as “scareware” or “fake antivirus”) onto users' computers. Zum Download

Author

Onur Komili

Onur Komili is a Web Threats Researcher at SophosLabs Canada.

Fraser Howard

Fraser Howard is a Principal Researcher at SophosLabs UK since 2006. Fraser joined Sophos from McAfee where he managed anti-malware researchers across EMEA. He was previously technical editor of Virus Bulletin magazine, the industry's leading publication dealing with the issue of viruses and associated malware.

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