Huge amounts of malicious links relating to Halloween have been detected

Halloween related spam is being detected at very high levels ahead of the annual festivities.

Panda Security claimed that hackers have been busy positioning thousands of web pages that are being used to distribute fake anti-virus programs, among the first results returned by the most popular search engines.

Meanwhile data released from Trend Micro's global threat research and support organisation TrendLabs, revealed that the top seven recent scary threats are from cybercriminals taking advantage of seasonal events such as Halloween.

Senior security advisor Rik Ferguson, said: “We urge people to be vigilant when clicking on links leading to unknown websites, no matter how tempting the offer on hand may be. With Halloween nearing, we should be on alert for fake Halloween e-cards leading to malicious sites intended to infect visitors.

“We are also expecting to see a number of clever ploys using social networking sites to feature holiday-themed videos and links designed to lure users into downloading malicious software.”

David Harley, director of malware intelligence at ESET, claimed that it is not just Michael Myers, zombies and vampires you need to watch out for; it is Funny Halloween Costumes, Harvey Milk, Pumpkin Carving Stencils, candy, Pokemon, and McDonalds Monopoly online that is infecting trending topics and search engine results.

Harley said: “Right now, after a very interesting conversation with Juraj Malcho, heard of our lab in Slovakia, I'm looking through a list of keywords currently being used by a particularly prolific Black Hat search engine optimisation campaign which has been updated to reflect the sort of stuff that people – and certainly American people - are likely to be searching for at this time of year.

“However, if you use common search engines like Google to look for terms like those above and a great many others, you're likely to find a lot of links at the top of the results lists that lead you to fake security software.

“Many of the search terms I'm looking at here relate to fairly specific stuff like Halloween costumes; lots are fairly generic but have the word Halloween added (often at the start of the term, but not invariably); some don't relate to Halloween at all, as far as I can see; and some are just bizarre - ‘Halloween originated in Mt Kilamanjaro (sic)'.”

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