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Rogue anti-virus vendors yesterday used search engine optimization techniques to poison the Google search that resulted from visitors clicking on the Google Doodle – the art that periodically appears above the edit box on the Google front page.

The Doodle, a rendering of the Esperanto flag, was intended to draw attention to the fact that it was the 150th anniversary of the birth of Polish linguist L. L. Zamenhof who invented the Esperanto language.

Esperanto flag

Half of the sites that appeared as top hits in the Google search had been hacked and redirected visitors to malicious sites that presented scareware warnings and tried to sell rogue anti-virus products.

A researcher at Barracuda Labs was quoted as saying that malicious operators have been working hard recently to steal FTP login information. Getting access to Web sites via FTP would allow them to post code that would redirect visitors to other sites that would download the malware.

ComputerWorld story here.

Tom Kelchner