Blackhat SEO Banks on Justin Bieber’s Clean Name

Justin Bieber is a poster child for the efficacy of marketing yourself on YouTube. Even before he was “discovered,” he was followed by millions of fans who loved his homemade videos. But the basic 

search engine optimisation tactics that have helped Bieber shoot to pop fame have also helped blackhat SEOs capitalise on his name.

Panda security researchers discovered a BHSEO campaign that hoped to draw visitors to malicious sites. This is not new; blackhat SEOs often target popular and trending topics. What is different, according to Panda, is that these sites create sensational stories about Bieber, stuffing the false stories with malicious links. The infected search results found by Panda start with “Hot Video,” and then insert the phrases that will draw Bieber fans – and his critics. “Justin Bieber smokes weed,” “Justin Bieber arrested,” “Justin Bieber gender change operation,” and incredibly, “Justin Bieber died.”

This particular campaign is associated with My Security Engine, a rogue antivirus program. Once a user has clicked on these links, My Security Engine goes to work, creating a host of pop-ups. These warn the computer user that they have several security issues that need to be resolved, and the best way to do this, they say, is to purchase and install My Security Engine.  his, of course, is not a legitimate program.

Technical director at PandaLabs, Luis Corrons, says, “These types of activities have become increasingly common. And any popular topic or issue is used by cyber-crooks to spread their creations. By positioning websites used to distribute malware among the first results in search engines, they can be sure that numerous internet users will inadvertently download the fake antivirus.”

Should users receive these types of pop-ups, they should never install any program, and they should certainly never pay for them. Immediate action to remove the rogue program can help keep the system secure.

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