In case you had your head in the sand for the past 24 hours and managed to avoid almost every source of media, you will have missed the announcement of Prince William and Kate Middleton's engagement.
Aside from those begging for an extra day off work or contemplating what the first dance will be (I predict it will be ‘William, it was really nothing' by The Smiths, listen here), as usual the search engine poisoners have been hard at work.
Websense reported that in the top 100 results, approximately 22.4 per cent of all searches for current news leads to malicious search results and warned users to go to reputable sites when looking for news and not to do just random searches.
Mary Landesman, senior security researcher at Cisco, said: “My first thought on reading this was that malware and scammers will be even quicker to cash in. Indeed, many are proclaiming that Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding (set for sometime next spring) will be the biggest marital event since Princess Diana and Prince Charles.
“Cisco ScanSafe research indicates that three out of every 100 malware encounters results from people clicking unsolicited malicious links in email, IM and social messaging and ten out of every 100 encounters occur via search engine results. Bottom line - think before you click, consider the source and pay attention to the destination URL. By following this advice, hopefully you can toast to the happy couple without toasting your computer.”
Tom Kelchner, research centre manager at GFI Software, pointed at the second photo under ‘Images for Kate Middleton' as being malicious. He said that it initially leads to a photo but that page then redirects to friefox.ddns.pl, where a Trojan is forced on to users.
As we have highlighted before, any news story is likely to end up with suspicious or malicious search results and as the researchers above highlight, it is best to use a reliable source with a fully patched browser. While the nation may be cooing over William and Kate, those with less pure thoughts do not miss a trick.