PandaLabs, the anti-malware laboratory at Panda Security –The Cloud Security Company–, has reported the recent appearance of a number of Web pages distributing the MySecurityEngine fake antivirus. All of these pages appear in top Web search results related to the 2010 South Africa Soccer World Cup.

According to Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs, “The 2010 South Africa Soccer World Cup is a worldwide event that, only logically, hackers are taking advantage of.  Over the last few days we have also noticed an increase in the number of malicious links that use the Roland Garros final, Rafael Nadal’s win or the NBA finals as bait. We advise users that use search engines to look for information regarding the World Cup to only access reliable websites and be careful when clicking links returned by search engines. We expect to see attacks like this increase over the next few days.”

These techniques, called Black Hat Seo attacks, started being used by hackers a couple of years ago. Since then, they have become increasingly sophisticated, managing to place rogue websites among the top’s search results in search engine listings. The system is very simple: when users look for information about major sports events such as this, the results returned correspond to rogue Web pages professionally indexed to rank high. If the user clicks the link, they will be asked to download a file, a codec for example. However, if they do so, they will be inadvertently installing a fake antivirus program on their computer.

We advise users to take all the necessary precautions when visiting Web pages through search engines. Make sure that sources are reliable and reject all downloads, as otherwise you could be infecting yourself. According to Corrons, “The best piece of advice is to use your common sense when surfing the Web. Reject requests from strangers and do not open any files that come from unfamiliar sources. Also, it is advisable to make sure you have the proper virus protection on your computer and that it is up to date.  Currently there are free solutions like Panda Cloud Antivirus that protect computers against this type of threat.”

More information at PandaLabs Blog.