Hackers use celebrity image SEO to spread scareware

Scareware, the fake anti-virus programs which try and frighten you into reaching deep into your wallet, have been one of the biggest security stories of the last twelve months.

By displaying bogus security warnings their intention is to panic you into purchasing a product you don’t need, or install a malicious program you don’t want.

Late last week, Paul Baccas (aka ‘pob’) of SophosLabs found out that scareware scammers were using search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques in combination with photographs of celebrities like Warren Beatty and Shania Twain in their attempts to steal money.

Below you’ll find a video made by Paul demonstrating the problem in regards to “Beaches” actress Barbara Hershey, and make sure to also read the additional information he has posted on the SophosLabs blog.

(Enjoy this video? You can check out more on the SophosLabs YouTube channel and subscribe if you like)

You can learn more about the rise of scareware and web threats in Sophos’s 2009 Security Threat Report.