Hackers turning to SEO to spread viruses and links

Posted on January 12, 2010


According to recent research from Sunbelt Software, SEO is being heavily used by hackers in order to spread malware, viruses and imbed links into high profile websites.

The report found that hackers were making use of content and topical events to boost their spam websites in the search engine listings, enabling them to spread viruses and Trojans quicker. Events such as the death of Brittany Murphy were capitalised upon, so that unsuspecting web users who searched for news of her death were presented with virus infected pages.

The events surrounding US golfer Tiger Woods were also used by hackers to spread malware to users looking to read about his exploits.

Sunbelt Software discovered that the following searches in December were particularly dangerous for Internet users:

  • “Brittany Murphy”
  • “chromium os download”
  • “New Year’s Parades”
  • “Tiger Woods car crash”
  • “Tiger Woods rumors”

Hackers are using SEO to optimise their websites for topical phrases such as this, ensuring that they receive as much traffic as possible from users looking for information. This allows them to spread their infectious Trojans and viruses across the Internet.

Sam Tilston is the marketing director for website Zoombits.co.uk, he said about the technique of using content:

When optimising for contemporary references rather than broader issues it is important to remember Google universal search, which incorporates many sources into the Google search results page. Therefore, if you are doing SEO for a contemporary reference, it is vital to ensure your message is placed on Facebook and Twitter to ensure they are included in the Google real-time search.

All of this research shows that content is a powerful SEO tool on the Internet; a tool that can aid websites in the search engine rankings, regardless of their intent. By harnessing the power of content you can improve your search engine rankings considerably.

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