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Japan Earthquake Hit by SEO Poisoning, Fake Donation Websites and Emails

Amid the ongoing earthquake and tsunami diasaster in Japan, unscruplous minds have found ways to cash-in the natural calamity — last week, saw fake donation websites and emails. Now, Eweek reports that cybercriminals have also started using Japanese earthquake related search terms to lead people to their malicious websites.

These fraudulent websites show up in search results of people looking for news and information about the earthquake. If you click on these sites, you might be infected with software that could steal your personal information or might make your computer display fake virus alerts that trick you into paying for a fraudulent product or service.

Japan Earthquak Spam

Users searching on “most recent earthquake in Japan” may encounter some malicious links to fake anti-virus software, Trend Micro researchers said March 11. Malware writers used black-hat search engine manipulation techniques to push these links to the top of the search results, according to a post on the company’s Malware Blog.

A quick search on Google returned two suspicious links on the first page and several more on subsequent pages. Bing had more links that looked suspicious appearing on the first page. Trend Micro expects more SEO poisoning attempts down the line in order to stay on that all-important first page.

“One of the active sites that we saw used the keyword ‘most recent earthquake in Japan’ and led to FAKEAV variants we currently detect as Mal_FakeAV-25,” Ingal wrote.

One link’s description even read “a swarm of earthquakes hit Mt St Helens volcano on 14th February 2011.”

Here’re two free ways to help protect you against these fraudulent search results:

  • Download and install Internet Explorer 9, which includes the SmartScreen Filter to help protect you against fraudulent websites.
  • Download and install Microsoft Security Essentials to help protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
[Source, Via]

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