Blackhat SEOs Target Macs

18 June

Blackhat SEOs Target Macs

Earned or not, Windows OS usually has a reputation for being less secure than Mac OS X. Mac users have a reputation for being younger, professional, more liberal, more tech-savvy, and even better dressed. But Macs are no more immune to viruses than the human body is during cold and flu season. A new round of blackhat SEO attacks is targeting Mac OS X users, as well as Safari. What do these attacks look like, and how can Mac users avoid them?

The new attacks take the form of fake antivirus program, MAC Defender. This malicious program is delivered through infected websites, thanks to the efforts of blackhat SEOs. These hackers target current events and trending topics, using keyword optimization and other techniques to get their websites on the first page of SERPs. Whenever major world events occur, such as the royal wedding or the death of Osama bin Laden most recently, you can expect blackhat SEOs to infect search results.

This is not usual; however, the targeting of the Mac operating system and Safari is unique because blackhat SEOs have typically left these targets alone, opting to infect Windows with malicious sites. Kaspersky researcher Fabio Assolini says, “Not only Windows users are a target of bad guys that want to distribute rogueware. Now they are also attacking Mac users using the same and old blackhat SEO techniques, poisoning search results in popular search engines.”

That’s the bad news. The good news is that because these are the “same and old” techniques, you can better recognize – and avoid – them. Always use caution when running searches for trending topics and stick to reputable sites for your news. Another way to spot the MAC Defender scam is that a fake Windows screen actually pops up in the Safari browser when a visitor accesses an infected website. Wisniewski says that you “are first prompted with a JavaScript-based fake scanner that appears to show an infected Windows XP computer, even when surfing from a Mac.”

A good tipoff. If you aren’t paying attention and miss that, you will be prompted to enter your admin password, which is another red flag to watch for.

Regardless of your OS or browser, maintaining good security and being cautious about websites and links is crucial.

TAGS: SEO, General