Security experts are warning that hackers are now using Microsoft’s Live Spaces blogging platform in order to push up the popularity of fraudulent online pharmaceutical sites in a strategy known as search engine poisoning.
In a posting on the Threat Center Live blog, security firm eSoft explained that cyber criminals are making use of Windows Live Spaces as well as Yahoo and Google Blogger platforms – registering accounts and then using those accounts to link to the fraudulent sites, thus pushing up the search engine ranking of those sites.
“Additionally, the spam emails now link to these fake blogs rather than directly to the pharma-fraud site in an effort to better evade spam filters that might otherwise detect the link to the fraudulent website,” the posting noted.
“Whatever the distribution method, it's clear these cybercriminals will stop at nothing and continue to evolve new ways of advertising their bogus sites.”
Search engine poisoning or blackhat SEO is becoming an increasingly popular method for cyber criminals to boost click throughs onto their fake and malicious sites and increase infection rates.
Many piggy-back on popular news stories of the time, such as the death of major celebrities like Michael Jackson, or tragic news events, in order to encourage users to click on their malicious links, which have been artificially promoted to high places in the search engine rankings by techniques such as the one outlined above.