Background Blog Processing
Other attackers are getting more creative and setting up phony Michael Jackson-related blogs to try to trick unsuspecting users. Security company Webroot says it's seen such efforts pop on a variety of hosting services, including Google's Blogger platform. The blogs take advantage of background processing to run scripts that can cause serious harm to your system.
"Just visiting [one] page spawned a tornado of background and foreground browser activity -- over 100 URLs, mostly called from ad-host Yieldmanager by an automated script hosted elsewhere, were pulled down in just the first three seconds after the page loaded," says Webroot's Andrew Brandt.
At least one site was found to be installing a virus that effectively locks down your PC, terminating most any application before Windows is able to open it. Programs installing spyware and even the Koobface virus have also been observed.
The notion of exploiting high-profile news events for spreading spam and malware is nothing new. Security researchers say anytime the public's attention is tuned in to a particular topic, attackers see the potential to move in.
The best line of defense is simply to follow standard Web safety procedures: Delete suspicious-looking e-mails or messages from people whom you don't know; avoid clicking on links in messages if you aren't absolutely sure where they lead; and restrict your surfing to reputable Web sites when it comes to breaking news.