Cyber criminals take advantage of Royal Wedding

28 Apr 2011

There has been a spike in activity amongst cyber criminals hoping to take advantage of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s big day on Friday and social media users in particular have been warned to avoid links that bring them to malicious websites.

According to ESET, the Royal Wedding has caught the attention of cyber criminals. Prince William and Kate Middleton have computer scammers at the ready to profit from the media circus surrounding this year’s high-profile event.

Yet again, there are people out there trying to take advantage of the media attention around a trending topic.

This time, they are targeting web surfers seeking out news about the wedding. The ploys include setting up fake websites rigged to score high in web searches due to the high frequency of the keywords used.

Spike in computer infiltrations

According to ESET, when a user lands on such a page, he or she may unwittingly download malicious code, like a rogue antivirus program. This particular variant is detected as Win32/Adware.XPAntiSpyware.AB.

“When web searching based on keywords related to the British Royal Wedding, top query spots are taken up, among others, by malicious websites,” ESET malware analyst Róbert Lipovský explains.

“By clicking the URL link, the user triggers pop-up windows containing a warning about a computer infiltration. Subsequently, the user is prompted to download rogue security software,” adds Lipovský.

“Generally, malware-laden sites appear when typing in specific keywords, such as ‘Middleton wedding dress idea’ and other similar ones. With the wedding date fast approaching, we are seeing a spike in computer infiltrations all around the world.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years