Alleged rumours about the death of rapper Kanye West has led to malicious search results appearing.
Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro, claimed that page one of the Google search results for ‘Kanye West Death' has a malicious link on it, and this demonstrates the speed with which criminals can now capitalise on internet themes.
A rumour began this morning that Kanye West had been killed in a ‘bizarre car accident'. A report was made that a bizarre car crash in Los Angeles involving two luxury cars early this morning left the rapper dead, a second injured, a third arrested for gross vehicular manslaughter and a fourth person was detained by police.
The report also included a comment from Los Angeles lieutenant Scott Fox, who failed to mention West. Ferguson claimed that the origin of this rumour has apparently been traced back to the 4chan message boards, and at the time of writing, this is the top ‘trending topic' on Twitter.
Ferguson said: “It didn't take very long at all for this to be become the top trending topic on Twitter and also the top search on Google as worried fans searched for real confirmation.
“It's no surprise that in very short order we are already seeing poisoned search results being returned on page one of the results that could lead the unwary to trouble. Just because something didn't happen, doesn't mean it won't be abused for criminal purposes, be careful where you click.”
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, claimed that unfortunately, many internet users are forwarding or reposting the ‘news', without checking a credible news website.
Cluley said: “After all, if it were true, wouldn't it be on the front page of CNN? So, it would seem reasonable to search the internet to find out if the rumours of Kanye West's death were true or not before forwarding the messages, wouldn't it?
“Using search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques, hackers have managed to push malicious web pages claiming to be about Kanye West's ‘death' high on the results of internet search engines. Clicking on the link will take you to a web page that tries to infect you with fake anti-virus.
“Computer users would be sensible to exercise extreme caution, and ensure that security software is scanning every web page they visit for malicious code in light of the rising number of attacks of this nature. Indeed, maybe it would be more sensible to go to established news websites for information about breaking stories rather than trusting any Tom, Dick and Harry on the net?”