Hacker Blitz Infects Web Search Results

Malicious websites may have fooled Google, Yahoo and MSN
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2007 10:50 PM CST
A visitor passes an exhibition stand of Google company in Duesseldorf, western Germany, in this Sept. 25, 2007 file photo.    (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Software security firms believe they uncovered a massive hacker effort earlier this week to "booby-trap" web searches, one which could have rendered Windows and Internet Explorer users vulnerable to fraud. Seemingly innocuous and random search terms, like "Christmas gifts" and "infinity," brought results that included links thousands of malicious China-registered websites, built to fool search engine page rank algorithms.

"If your machine was not fully patched you were going to get hosed," said an executive whose company helped uncover the scam. The fraudulent sites were convincing enough to get past Google, Yahoo and MSN indexing software, but were specifically designed to prey on Google searchers; Google has since purged the sites from its index. One security firm's CTO suggested a Russian online criminal network was behind the effort.