WASHINGTON — A growing number of hackers are using search engine optimization techniques to trick people into downloading viruses.
“This particular approach seems new or we may be just discovered it,” Chris Rodgers, owner of Colorado SEO Pro said.
Rodgers said cybercriminals are using what is known as search engine optimizations (SEO) techniques to target people searching for content online. The process starts with hackers getting access to the backend of companies’ websites.
“They may be buying these passwords and logins on the dark web. They may be using programs to try and get in that way,” Rodgers explained. “There are also plug-ins and add-ons with different types of websites that can create vulnerabilities.”
Once the cybercriminals have access to the site’s content management system, Rodgers explained attackers are using techniques to understand what people are searching for.
He said the hackers create a web page that looks to answer a search question, make a fake message board that appears legitimate, and prompt users to download a file that seems to be a solution or response to their problem.
“At that point, if they download that file, they’re essentially starting the process of whatever the hackers are looking to accomplish,” Rodgers told WUSA9.
In order to prevent these attacks from happening, Rodgers said website owners and managers should make sure content management systems are updated, ensure user logins are secure and their passwords are complex, and plug-ins and add-ons should be updated and monitored.
For those people using search engines to find information, Rodgers added it is important to research websites and be cautious before downloading any files.
“We constantly need to be vigilant with our information – with our data,” he said. “You know – passwords, login, the websites that we visit. There’s unfortunately not ever a time where you can ever just let your guard down.”
That is because these latest attacks serve as an example that cybersecurity threats are constantly changing and becoming more creative.