Panda Security has uncovered a new Halloween-related search engine optimization attack. With October 31 just around the corner, and many Internet users searching for issues related to Halloween, attackers have been busy positioning thousands of Web pages among the first results returned by the most popular search engines.
Many of these websites are being used to distribute fake anti-virus programs, which users download and install on their systems, sometimes without even realizing. Typically, these fake anti-virus programs display aggressive messages to users claiming they are infected and that to resolve the problem they need to buy a license (for the program). A simple click will take the user to an apparently legitimate Web page, from where they are defrauded.
These fake anti-virus applications are becoming increasingly aggressive, even hijacking victims’ computers and preventing them from using them.
How to detect fake Web addresses
Browsing the Internet to discover new sites can be fun. The problem is that you can never be sure whether the website you’re entering contains the information you’re expecting, or whether the content is legal or appropriate, say, for your children. The following practical tips will help keep you safe:
- If you know the address of the website that you want to visit, type it directly into the address bar.
- If you have to search for it, try using a Web browsing tool that will tell you the reputation of websites, whether they’re classified as malicious, etc. There are free tools you can use such as WOT-Â¦
- If you have children, install a good parental system on your computer. This will give you the peace of mind of knowing they are safe and not accessing inappropriate content.
- Don’t click suspicious links from non-trusted sources. This should apply to messages received through Facebook, and through other social networks and even via email.
- If you do click on any such links, take a good look at the page you arrive at. If you don’t recognize it, close your browser.
- Even if you don’t see anything strange in the target page, but you are asked to download something, don’t accept.
- Always make sure you have a good protection system on your computer to protect you when all else fails.