Despite the loss of hundreds of lives following the Indonesian earthquake earlier this week, unscrupulous cybercriminals have wasted no time in profiteering from the disaster.
Knowing that people around the world will eagerly be searching the web for news of their loved ones, Symantec analysis has shown that malware creators have quickly devised malicious software and web sites designed to make money from concerned members of the public.
Cybercriminals are poisoning web searches so that their fake web sites are listed at the top of the page. Many of the listings which result from searches for terms such as “Western Samoa”, “Earthquake”, or “Tsunami”, will link to malicious pages that then attempt to perform fake antivirus scans by offering to clean the users’ computer.
Symantec warns users to be vigilant and cautious of any search results which appear not to link to trusted sources.
Hon Lau, security response manager at Symantec, comment: “These types of attack are becoming increasingly prevalent online. We recently identified similar attacks following both the Serena Williams outburst and the Twitter-based attacks reported last week.
"The people behind these scams are constantly evolving and adapting their attacks to suit current news events. Unfortunately there is no event, no matter how heartbreaking, which a hacker will not try to profit from.”