Cyber criminals quick to pounce on McAfee crash story

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Cyber criminals quick to pounce on McAfee crash story

Blackhat SEO techniques could lead to scareware infections.

Security experts are warning users searching for information on the breaking McAfee systems crash story to beware of malicious links in search results that could contain scareware.

Security giant McAfee caused widespread concern among users after it revealed that a problem with its anti-virus product caused some Windows XP systems to crash.

However, cyber criminals have been first to react to the incident, by using blackhat search engine optimisation techniques to ensure that their malicious web pages are returned first in a search for information on the incident.

Many of these will infect the user with malicious software designed to trick them into thinking they are infected and then paying a fee for 'anti-virus software' to alleviate the problem.

"These poisoned pages are appearing on the very first page of search engine results, making it likely that many will click on them," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"If you visit the links you may see pop-up warnings telling you about security issues with your computer. These warnings are fake and designed to trick you into downloading dangerous software, which could result in hackers gaining control of your corporate computers or the theft of your credit card details."

Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro, said that he is not surprised that the news had been hijacked by cyber criminals.

"Unfortunately this is an ongoing trend, and we see it related to any newsworthy event," he said.

"People cannot afford to blindly trust the results offered by search engines, as abusing search trends has now become one of online crime's primary infection vectors."

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