A huge misconception of Internet users is how certain web sites are safe. Menlo Technical Consulting has helped many clients, infected with various computer viruses, analyze and suggest alternative ways to prevent such problems in their future operations. Most companies avoid implementing Internet Usage Policies. This single factor is probably the biggest IT oversight a CIO, COO or HR department can make for a company.
Without getting to technical, spammers and virus writers are constantly trying to install bugs on computers. At first it was for the purpose of notoriety. Today it brings in money once they are able to convert the computer to a zombie-like state. This zombie state converts the computer into a spam machine. These devices send out thousands of emails and host false web pages to trick other computer users on the Internet. This grid of zombified computers is called the Bot Net. Your computer or your entire corporate computer network can get be converted into a Bot Net, from the most unlikely sources. One common and unsuspecting way is through web pages found on search engine results. Web pages that look like official sites like eBay, banks, brokerage houses and insurance companies, but are fake, is called PHISHING.
In example, if someone is trying to find information on the Internet for foreclosures or free music lyrics, they would go to Yahoo or Google and search for:
in the attempt to find free lyrics to their favorite songs.
A recent McAfee study of search engine results (e.g., Google, Yahoo, & AOL) collected these search results and have identified those phrases that produce a significantly higher risk of bogus phishing web sites. If a web surfer clicks on these links the page looks very much like the official web page, or appears as a blank page. In fact, they are often phishing sites, and they are installing software on your machine. This software will turn the computer into a BotNet zombie. Some search words produce riskier results than others.
Here is a list of North America search terms that produce the most risky search engine results:
free music downloads
printable fill in puzzles
Other catagory terms have been tagged as risky as well.
The Most Dangerous Economic Crisis Terms include:
irs stimulus checks
The United States’ Most Dangerous Free Terms include:
free people search
free itunes codes
free ringback tones
From these lists, one can see how the dangerous sites can accidentally reach your computer and entire corporate computer network.
For more information about how your business network or critical business computer networks can be compromised, and what to do about preventing high risk websites from accessed at your company, contact Menlo Technical Consulting today for a consultation.