What threats can we expect in October?

Fraudulent online storefront promising cheap HP Touchpads, poisoned search engine results targeting users searching on Yahoo and Bing, and spam promising a US green card have targeted people during September, says GFI.

“Last month, cybercriminals and scammers once again demonstrated their ability to quickly respond to high-profile events and exploit our online search behavior,” said Christopher Boyd, senior threat researcher at GFI Software.

“As convincing as some of these threats appear, in many cases users can avoid falling victim by simply typing web addresses into their browsers themselves to ensure they were visiting official websites, instead of relying solely on search engine results or links found on social networks. At official websites, users can verify the veracity of claims and special offers, and download software directly from a legitimate source.”

For example, HP Touchpads were in high demand last month as retailers slashed prices in order to reduce inventories of the discontinued and unsupported tablet computer. Scammers attempted to capitalize on this demand by preying upon those searching for online sales.

Users were lured to sites mimicking popular online technology retailers who boasted having limited supplies available. Upon checkout, users were asked to complete a quick online survey, which they did in hopes of obtaining an inexpensive Touchpad. Surveys of this kind are generally used to procure personal information and email addresses that will expose users to future spam and other online threats.

Meanwhile, the Yahoo and Bing search engines were also targeted by scams in which users trying to download Firefox, Skype, Adobe or other popular software products were met with links that sent them to malware-laden websites.

For October, GFI warns users to be on guard for Halloween-related scams, including spam, email attachments and video links on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, even those links that appear to be sent by friends and followers.

As interest continues to build over the 2012 primary election cycle, GFI also recommends users be extra aware when contacted online for political donations or when searching the web for candidate information at home and at work.

According to the data compiled from collected scan data of tens of thousands of GFI VIPRE Antivirus customers, the top 10 threat detections for September included a mixture of (generic and non) Trojans, Adware, a backdoor, the Conficker worm (still) and the Sality virus.

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