Google picked Kansas City, Kansas for its latest experiment.
If searching for a photo of the latest photos of bikini-wearing Brooklyn Decker or Paul McCartney's latest fiancee on Google Images, be warned that those photos could also be infected with malware, a report said.
"For several weeks, some readers have complained that clicking on Google Images search results directed them to Web pages that pushed rogue anti-virus scareware via misleading security alerts and warnings," wrote Brian Krebs on his Krebs On Security blog.
The scammers take photos from other sites so the image looks official and also incorporates top search terms into the website so it's sure to be at the top of searches. This means the site is just lying in wait for a victim who will eventually click on its thumbnail image. Users are then subjected to "scareware," or a program that tells the searcher that his or her computer is infected and must download an anti-virus program (a fake one) immediately. The fake anti-virus could do anything from scanning your hard drive for sensitive information to using your computer to send out more viruses.
A Google spokesman said the search titan was aware of the infections and that it is making an effort to better search results and detect malware. “We’re improving, as are the people trying to put users at risk, and in the interests of those users it’s best if we don’t reveal everything that we’re doing about this,” he said.
Is this another case of Internet user beware? My advice is to think a little before clicking on a thumbnail --does it seem like a legitimate site? Does the preview window display content as well as photos? If yes to both questions, it's less likely to be a problem. However, when faced with a pop-up screen asking you to click immediately for an anti-virus, one should press Control+Alt+Delete and shut off the browser.in Task Manager. Don't bother to try to click your way out, Krebs said.