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Online hackers ''looking to take advantage of search engines''
Tuesday, 03 November 2009 00:00

Hackers might be looking to take advantage of popular search terms relating to major events to target people using search engines, an expert claims.

Figures from Panda Security recently suggested that hackers may have recently launched search engine optimisation attacks relating to events such as Halloween.

The cloud computing firm believes web pages positioned by hackers may lead internet users to download false antivirus programs which could pose a number of problems.

Luis Corrons, the firm''s technical director, commented that popular searches in 2009 relating to events like swine flu and Michael Jackson''s death have also been the targets of hacking activity.

He said: "Unlike other attacks, such as scams sent via email, the user won''t be able to recognise that the link is malicious, that''s why the cybercriminals are launching these kinds of attacks."

Mr Corrons added that web users could take steps to improve their security by opting for "web filtering products".

Ben Spicer, commercial and technology lawyer at Taylor Vinters, said: "Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the buzz terms we often hear but what does it mean? Basically it does what is says on the tin - the process of ensuring that when a user searches Google for the types of goods your business offers, or even your business'' name, your website is as close to the top of the rankings as possible.

"SEO has become the latest battleground in the war between brands with considerable effort going into ensuring that competitors do not entice away visitors and customers that would otherwise visit their sites.

"Although the courts are not sure about whether search engines can sell advertising which incorporates trade marks to competitors, the routes for enforcing your trade mark rights against those would who look to exploit them online remain largely the same as with those who do so offline.

"When was the last time you checked who was top of the search results for your company''s products?"

 

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