Be Careful Who You Google

Security Caution Tape on keyboardCyber criminals, aware of what or who is popular at any given time, use that popularity to infect the largest number of computers possible. One of the ways they do that is to set up bogus Internet websites in the name of the popular person or event, planning on excited fans to visit the site. I think you probably know the drill:

  • The user “Googles” the celebrity and visits the website,
  • malicious program code on the site installs a cocktail of malware (viruses, trojan horses, spyware, adware, spam, phishing and worms) onto the user’s computer
  • once resident on the user’s computer, the malware hides itself and waits for instructions from the cyber criminal controlling computer
  • these instructions and resulting actions depend on the capabilities of the malware, but includes tracking the computer’s keystrokes, looking for and recording online banking account numbers, passwords, and other sign-on information.
  • The next step is…you guessed it, they clean out your bank accounts and wire your money to a cyber criminal owned bank account in another country…and the malware remains on your computer.

Okay, now back to the connection with popular events and celebrities; “McAfee research found that searching for Olympian Andy Murray content yields more likelihood of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware than searching for any other British athlete.”

They also report that the list of top Olympic athletes who’ve been targeted to have a malicious website created includes:

  1. Andy Murray, tennis pro and gold medal winner
  2. Ryan Giggs, football star
  3. Louis Smith, gymnast
  4. Tom Daley, platform diver
  5. Mark Cavendish, platform diver

Others, including 100m track star, Usain Bolt, tennis player Novak Djokovic, and swimmer Michael Phelps are also risky to search for.

So, resist searching the Internet for these stars right now…maybe forever. Your bank account and computer will benefit from your decision.

Reference: Help Net Security.com

As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.

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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.

Best regards,

Paul

lubicp(at)yahoo.com and if you twitter, follow me @paulsinternet on Twitter.

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4 Comments

Filed under Cybercrime, Internet, Internet Security, malware, security

4 responses to “Be Careful Who You Google

  1. You’re right – WOT works well and I’ve used it for years.
    Also a gentle correction – Mark Cavendish is a cyclist not a platform diver.

  2. That is really unnerving. Thank you for discussing this. Is there a way to safely use Google and search for people without falling victim to cyber criminals?

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