Searches Related to Japan Earthquake May Lead to Malware, Trend Micro Warns

By on Mar 12, 2011 in Asia, Headlines, Internet, Natural Disasters, Technology Comments

Hours after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, cybercriminals are caught employing black hat SEO techniques to push malware to unsuspecting users in the Internet.


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Researchers from Trend Micro have announced in their Malware Blog that they have seen web searches for the term “most recent earthquake in Japan” led to several malicious web pages that contain FakeAV malware. Norman Ingal, Threat Response Engineer from Trend Micro said that the malware was detected as Mal_FakeAV-25 by their antivirus software.

Graham Cluley of Sophos also sent a reminder via his twitter account @gcluley saying that “Take care looking for Japan quake/tsunami news. Hackers poison search engines to spread malware. Visit legit news sites only”

Ingal further explained that this Black hat SEO technique that aims to push rogue antivirus programs to web search results is still a very common attack used by cybercriminals whenever there are news worthy events like earthquakes and other calamities.

Security researchers advise Internet users to be cautious when searching for updates regarding the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami alerts and get news updates from reliable and trusted news sites only.

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