Searching for Hotties Leads to Hacked PCs

Five or ten years ago, it was relatively easy for scammers to trick people into opening email attachments that would launch malicious programs on victims’ PCs. Nowadays, most email providers won’t permit .exe attachments, so viruses may be saved as compressed files, or hidden behind links that appear to lead to PDFs or word documents.

Scammers have been very productive in creating spoofed or infected websites, which are designed to infect your web browser with viruses. More than three million of these websites were born in 2010 alone.

The bait that lures victims to these infected websites may be the latest Twitter trend, a breaking news story, significant world event, ringtone downloads, pornography, or celebrity pictures.

Cybercriminals often use the names of popular celebrities to tempt viewers to visit websites that are actually laden with malicious software. Anyone looking for the latest videos or pictures could end up with a malware-ridden computer instead of the trendy content they were expecting.Hot stuff model/television host/Seal’s wife Heidi Klum is this year’s “Most Dangerous Celebrity.” Heidi herself may be sweet as pie, but the allure of her looks has captured scammers’ attention, leading them to exploit her fame to draw in victims.

McAfee found that searching for the latest Heidi Klum pictures and downloads yields more than a 9% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses, and other malware.

McAfee security experts urge consumers to surf safely by using McAfee Total Protection security software, a security suite that offers consumers antivirus, anti-spyware, identity, and firewall protection, plus a feature called SiteAdvisor, which displays red, yellow, or green web safety ratings within Internet search results pages. It also blocks risky websites, adds anti-phishing protection, and helps users surf, shop, and bank more safely.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security and Safety Evangelist to McAfee and Identity Theft Expert.(Disclosures)


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