HOW DO I AVOID SEARCH ENGINE POISONING?

Are you careful about what you click on while Web browsing?  There are numerous stories about Search Engine Poisoning. This is a method used by attackers to turn your search for a term or news item into an opportunity to infect you with malware.  They use innocent looking links that appear to be exactly what you’re looking for but redirect you to a site that can infect your computer.

So how do you protect your organization from this kind of attack?  Your web content filter will not catch everything because legitimate sites get used to redirect visitors.  A deep layer content inspection and filtering of the data at your Internet Gateway (found in the latest generation of network security appliances) works better to prevent the malicious content from reaching you.

Educating yourself and your users about some of the common tactics used is essential.  For instance, very often poisoned links redirect users to “scareware” sites where a very ominous yet real looking alert pops up that your computer has been infected with a “clean now” button. Once that is clicked the virus is delivered and installed.  Users need to exercise particular caution (paranoia, if you will) when searching a “breaking” news item.  Never rely on search engine links, but go directly to well known and reputable news sources by entering the website address, if known, into your browser.  Enable your browser’s security features and never click anything, but immediately close when suddenly asked to install anti-virus or spyware software while browsing.  Of course, make sure you and your users have all the security updates installed and that each machine has anti-virus and anti-malware enabled and updating.

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