Scammers Target 'Google Doodles'

Special-occasion logos lead to results poisoned with malware
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2009 3:35 AM CST
Updated Dec 16, 2009 7:09 AM CST
Clicking on the Google logo yesterday delivered results that included many sites poisoned with malware.   (Google)

(Newser) – The graphics Google adds to its logo on special occasions have become the latest target for search engine scam artists adept at manipulating results. Yesterday's Esperanto Day sketch took users to a list of search results for creator L.L. Zamenhof and 27 of the first 50 contained malware, including a fake anti-virus site on the first page of results, CNET reports.

The scammers hack sites and hide tags to ensure they rank high in the results for popular search terms. Google says it works hard to remove the malicious sites from its index. "The use of popular search terms to target malware is neither a new vector nor unique to any particular search engine," said a Google representative. "We work hard to protect our users from malware."

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