Kate Middleton, Prince William Engagement Leads To Poisoned Search Results

imageIf an event is newsworthy, you can be sure cybercriminals are exploiting it and creating opportunities to drop malicious code on our computers – malicious code designed, in most cases, to separate unwitting victims from their money.

Taking advantage  of our curiosity surrounding current events has long been a favorite tool of the bad guys, and as expected, cybercriminals have jumped on the news of  Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton, and are actively exploiting this popular topic.

Cybercriminals don’t have to jump through hoops, write brilliant code, or take extreme measures, to be successful at the type of social engineering that goes hand in hand with capitalizing on newsworthy happenings. They simply poison selected search engine results – not as difficult to do as you might imagine.

For example, the Sunbelt Software Blog is currently reporting that “a Google search for “Kate Middleton” results in a poisoned link on the second photo under “Images for Kate Middleton.”

Google search string “Kate Middleton” = 14,300,000 results. (Click on a graphic to enlarge).

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Google search string “Images for Kate Middleton” = 8,600,000 results.

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Sunbelt warns that searching for photos of Middleton, can lead to images which redirect a  Firefox user to a compromised site where the user is encouraged to download a Trojan masquerading as a Firefox update.

Click on the graphic to expand and check the URL closely. You’ll notice that it reads Friefox – not Firefox.

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(Graphic courtesy of Sunbelt Blog).

The Sunbelt warning goes on to say:

The destination pages are usually legitimate ones, but are rarely ones dedicated to bringing news to readers. Depending on which browser the users are using, they will be redirected either to a YouTube-like page offering a video codec or to a page sporting and infection warning and offering a fake AV for download (IE users).

To save you the trouble of having to search – here’s a pic of the bikini clad Middleton.  Winking smile

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Old advice, but worth repeating nonetheless – Save yourself from being victimized by scareware, or other malware, and review the following actions you can take to protect your Internet connected devices including your computer system:

  • When surfing the web – Stop. Think. Click
  • Install an Internet Browser add-on such as WOT (my personal favorite), which provides detailed test results on a site’s safety; protecting you from security threats including spyware, adware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, and online scams.
  • Don’t open unknown email attachments
  • Don’t run programs of unknown origin
  • Disable hidden filename extensions
  • Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched
  • Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use
  • Disable Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX if possible
  • Disable scripting features in email programs
  • Make regular backups of critical data
  • Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised
  • Turn off file and printer sharing on your computer.
  • Install a personal firewall on your computer.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet.
  • Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments.

For additional information on fake search engine results, you can read an earlier article on this site – Malware by Proxy – Fake Search Engine Results.

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17 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Firefox, Internet Safety, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Search Engines, trojans, Windows Tips and Tools, WOT (Web of Trust)

17 responses to “Kate Middleton, Prince William Engagement Leads To Poisoned Search Results

  1. Jose

    Bill, you saucy Canadian!
    Your bikini clad Middleton photo is one of the best images I’ve seen lately.
    Thanks. Keep posting like this.
    If people accuse you of wrong intentions I’ll fly over and defend you facing the twelve peers on the eyes.
    “He was beeing educational” I will say without a blink.

    Regards,
    Jose.

    • Yes, you’re right Jose. The pic is entirely educational. LOL

      Interestingly, according to the “click count”, a rather large number of readers have clicked on the pic. I think you’re on to something, and I’ll have to “Keep posting like this”. 🙂

      Best,

      Bill

  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    She looks so “intelligent” in that pic lol. Where do we meet women like this. Not at the local pub, that’s for sure.

    Cheers

    • Hey Mal,

      Yes, that’s the first thing that struck me about the pic – that look of intelligence. lol

      My local must be something like yours – woman that look like this, scurry on by, I’m afraid. 🙂

      Best,

      Bill

  3. mrlokinight

    Hi Bill

    That relationship – it’s a car crash waiting to happen…

    Peace’n’Love
    Nightjar

    • Hey Nightjar,

      I was in a bar in London in early1976, and had a few jars with a couple of local execs who made it clear to me that advancement both socially, and from a business perspective, was dictated by both the school one attended and one’s father’s occupation – rather than by merit. As a Canadian, I found this class system both abhorrent, and functionally inefficient.

      A person’s advancement in the World (all else being equal), should be based on desire, drive and capabilities. So, I have no fondness for the undeserving members of the lucky sperm club such as the English aristocracy. Losers all, in my view.

      One would think, that people would understand that the myth of the fairytale “happily ever after” is just that – a myth.

      Best,

      Bill

      • Siam

        Couldn’t have said it better myself, Bill. And all on the taxpayers’ quid to boot. All I see is a manifestly abhorrent class system, at the top of which sits the very embodiment of centuries of inbreeding. I will never, ever understand the cult of monarchy or the people who support it.

        • Hey Siam,

          Excellent point – it’s difficult to understand how anyone could support social exclusion which directly affects them, and then happily pay the bill. Just another example, I suppose, of the total lack of critical thinking skills which negatively impacts the human condition. Bizarre, really.

          Bill

      • mrlokinight

        ###
        Hi Bill – you expressed your sentiments perfectly
        Incidentally ~ I agree 🙂

        ###
        IMO….

        You are a fine, expressive (but, no words wasted) writer
        Do you have a book in you fighting to get out ?

        ###

        • Hey Nightjar,

          Hmm, maybe. I lack that essential ingredient though. The one that shouts – get off your ass!

          Not surprised to see that a class system doesn’t fit with your social perspective.

          Best,

          Bill

  4. Hi Bill,
    The audacity of those cybercriminals, taking advantage of the Royals. Off with their heads!
    BTW if you are a fan of Brian Krebs (and I recall you are) he recently appeared on the pauldotcom security podcast http://pauldotcom.com/2010/11/pauldotcom—security-weekly—29.html
    Be warned the explicit label on Paul’s podcast is well deserved, in fact they make so many crude references to sex I wonder if they have ever had any. Reminds me of a bunch of middle schooler’s. That said its a great show, very geeky, so put on your propeller hat and have a listen.
    Regards
    Mark

    • Hey Mark,

      LOL – “off with their heads” might be a very messy solution but hey, it works for me. Maybe we should consider that as a penalty for all cybercrooks. 🙂

      I had a hell of a hard time finding my propeller hat, but despite that, I tuned in to the podcast – very, very interesting. Thanks for the link.

      Best,

      Bill

  5. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    Hmmm. Interesting that, despite peoples’ professed objection to our royal family, there is huge international interest in them. Apart from the superb job done by the Queen, who has not put a foot wrong in nearly sixty years and who has devoted her life exclusively to public duties, the royal family brings in vast amounts of tourist money.

    Jealous much?

    As far as the aristocracy is concerned, many do a very important job of maintaining fine historic buildings which would otherwise be lost for ever. If history and heritage are unimportant, so are they.

    End of lecture.

    Kind regards

    John

    • Hi John,

      Well, I’ll give you this – the Queen is a symbol that does indeed bring in vast amounts of loot, But so does Mickey Mouse, and the whole Disney family. And, I daresay at no cost to the public purse. The Royal family, and their ilk, may in fact draw some interest from the masses, (more so in the UK I suspect), but as a representation of celebrity – not as a representation of the ideal family by any stretch of the imagination, as was once the wrongly held perception.

      In a poll taken here yesterday in Canada, 87% of those interviewed had no interest whatsoever in either Prince William, or Kate Middleton, The bloom is off the Rose, and has been for some considerable time. The political reality, both here and in Australia is – the vast majority of people would much prefer to cut all ties with the Queen. She is after all, an anachronistic symbol of a time long past.

      In my view, the Royal Family, and the British aristocracy, represents the worse that humankind has to offer. Unmitigated greed through the centuries, (and thus ownership of those fine historic buildings you mention), and the active repression of basic human rights not only in Great Britain historically, but in every country they have had a hand in governing. Ask an Irishman, ask an Indian, ask a South African, ask a Native Canadian, ask an Afghani – ask a person from any country in which the East India Company (driven, funded, and controlled by the aristocracy), had a hand in governing.

      I can appreciate your views, but I could never agree that privilege by birthright, which the British Royal Family is the quintessential example of, has been a positive experience for the plebs of the world.

      Best,

      Bill

  6. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    So Mickey Mouse for president then? If you are comparing our Monarch to a Disney cartoon character I shall have to demand satisfaction sirrah!

    Seriously, I think any country could look back in it’s history to times it is not proud of and not just those with a monarchy or aristocracy. Ask a slave, ask a native American, ask an Aborigine, ask a German even. I also believe that a presidential system is not the best option. President Blair? President Brown? President Cameron? No thanks.

    I disagree with your characterisation of the Queen as an “anachronistic symbol of a time long past”. She has served this country unwaveringly for over half a century and may she long continue to do so.

    Guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    Kind regards

    John

    • Hi John,

      lol. I gave up pistols at Dawn a few years back, I’m afraid. No, I don’t mean to compare the Queen to Mickey Mouse in a derogatory manner. I draw the analogy simply to illustrate, that capitalizing on a symbolic image is bound to raise considerable monies. That’s just good business.

      You’re right of course, that we all carry the burden of social injustices, and inequalities, as part of our historical backgrounds. But, my point was more focused – I was referring to a particular group of people who bear a greater degree of responsibility for wrongdoing; those who profited most directly – the aristocracy. The British people themselves suffered mightily under this artificial system of entitlement. Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, and others, made careers by pointing this out.

      As for the benefits of Parliamentary democracy, we definitely see eye to eye on this issue. Without a doubt, the best system of government yet devised. And no, the thought of a President Blair, a President Brown, or a President Cameron, is not appealing. So you see, we don’t disagree quite as much as you might suppose.

      Both my parents worked in Oxford during the War, and many of the men in my family served in the British Army during both Wars, so I’m not an Anglophobe by any means. But, I certainly remain adamant in my opposition to the very idea of an aristocracy.

      Best,

      Bill

      • John Bent

        Hi Bill,

        We could be related! I am half Canadian by birth, my natural father was a pilot in the Canadian air force in WW2.

        You’re right that the best system still has to be devised, in that none is perfect. In the meantime I’m very happy to settle for an extended period of constitutional calm. Things move slowly in a Monarchy as, IMHO, they should. They are changing, however. Who would have thought that our potential future Queen would come from mining stock?

        Kind regards

        John