Cybercriminals are exploiting Serena Williams' US Open semi-final outburst recently to ignite a search engine optimisation (SEO) campaign that could result in Internet users unwittingly downloading malicious software.
Symantec warns that the video of Williams serving an angry volley at a line judge is currently one of the Internet’s most hotly searched items, but curious surfers should take care of where they watch it for fear of scoring their own double fault.
Internet users searching for terms such as "Serena Williams outburst" could easily be directed to a domain called pixnat.com. While this looks like a genuine website, Symantec says it is hacked and hosts fake antivirus scanners.
Hon Lau, Senior Security Response Manager at Symantec, says: "Unwary visitors to this site will instantly see browser windows pop-up warning them of various security threats, before being offered the chance to download a program that will fix them. They should refuse this as this is fake antivirus software that could harm their computers.
"This attack, otherwise known as ‘SEO poisoning’ is exactly the kind of thing that opportunistic criminals do to take advantage of people’s natural curiosity,” Hon adds.
"It is a small attack at the moment, but serves to show how dangerous misleading applications can be. They might look like legitimate software, but they’re there to harvest your personal details and hold your computer to ransom. Unless they want to put themselves at risk of identity theft or fund organised crime we’d advise users to stay well away."