Veterans Day: A Holiday for Computer Hackers
The emotions of sympathy and respect that Veterans Day fosters among many are often fodder that computer hackers use to lure in unsuspecting victims.
Security analysts from Websense have noticed several spam campaigns focusing on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) making their way around the Internet. Online searches for terms such as "Veterans day," "Veterans day 2010," and "Veterans day events" all turned up results that linked to malicious sites.
Experts from Websense reported that the code used in the corrupted sites is similar to code used in spam attacks targeting the Nov. 2 midterm elections.
The "poisoned" pages, as Websense called them, have a number of potentially harmful objectives. Some ask users to download a fake Web browser update page, which gives the hacker access to users' systems. Others spam campaigns attempt to trick the user into downloading rogue antivirus software, and some direct traffic to pornographic sites.
Websense urges people to be vigilant when using the Web, and to not automatically trust search results just because they initially appear legitimate.
"Be cautious clicking on search results," Websense said in a statement. "It's not every time that the 'This site may harm your computer' warning is there to save the day, especially in video and image search results. Moreover, keep in mind that malware pushers are diversifying their portfolio by including poisoned image search results more and more."
Unfortunately, hackers preying on the emotional power of a holiday such as Veterans Day are nothing new. Social engineering attacks and scareware are also malware campaigns that play into people's emotions and sensitivity to lure them into falling victim to a scam.