IT security and control firm Sophos is warning that hackers are
exploiting interest in last night's Oscar film awards ceremony to
infect the computers of unsuspecting computer users.
Movie-loving internet users are searching the web for
information and gossip about the Academy Award winners, making
phrases like "Oscars Winners" one of the most commonly searched for
phrases on the internet. However, using SEO (search engine
optimisation) techniques, hackers have created webpages stuffed
with content which appears to be related to The Oscars - but are
really designed to infect visiting computers.
"Many people won't have had the chance to watch The Oscars live
on television, and so turn to the internet for news on whether
their favourite film won an award or not - but careless clicks can
lead to a malware attack," explained Graham
Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Hackers have
created poisoned pages that appear on the first page of search
engine results, tempting users to click on them. However, if you
visit the links you can expect to see bogus warnings that your
computer is infected with viruses, that try and trick you into
downloading dangerous clean-up software or handing over your credit
card details. Scareware or fake anti-virus attacks like this are an
increasingly common weapon in the armoury of cybercriminal, jumping
on the coat tails of breaking news stories."
Sophos detects the attacks as
Troj/FakeAV-AXS. Users are advised to be cautious about the
links they click on and ensure that they are running up-to-date
"Cybercriminals lover launching SEO attacks because they've
proven to be so successful at hitting unsuspecting users,"
explained Cluley. "Visiting mainstream news websites for breaking
news might be a lot safer for users than stumbling across dangerous
pages carrying traps laid by hackers."
Further information about the attack can be found on
Graham Cluley's blog.