SEO Poisoning Attacks 10 Ways to Protect Against Them

1SEO Poisoning Attacks 10 Ways to Protect Against Them

1. Enable secure browsing functionality within the browserWhether users are fans of IE or Firefox, they need to enable secure browsing features in order to block malicious content that they may stumble upon via searching.

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2. Utilize free safe search and safe browsing utilitiesThere are number of free utilities out there today from security vendors that can augment what the browser has to offer, providing risk scoring to links directly within search results before one even clicks the link. Some options include Symantec’s Norton SafeWeb Lite, McAfee’s SiteAdvisor and Finjan’s SecureBrowsing.

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3. Make sure AV is installed and updatedYes, this is a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. Hackers will take advantage of an unprotected machine.

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4. Ensure machines are patchedSimilarly, hackers will use your client’s vulnerabilities against them when their users start using unpatched machines to visit poisoned pages.

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5. Initiate searches for news directly in news sitesConsider encouraging users to look for topical news directly within their favorite news outlet sites to bypass search results that may be likely to be poisoned.

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6. Search for video directly in YouTubeOne popular way hackers are taking advantage of user curiosity is by making poisoned pages that look like they are home to video of Mel Gibson’s inappropriate tantrums. When the user clicks the link he or she is asked to download Flash, but is directed to malware instead. Searching directly within YouTube can mitigate this.

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7. Remember that most sites stream without the need for extra softwareRemind users that most sites have their video players built in. Some user awareness outreach could keep them from being duped by a seemingly legitimate video site asking to download Flash.

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8. Don’t auto-click yes when pop ups come up from strange sites For that matter, encourage users to be skeptical about clicking yes to any pop-up that materialize from strange sites found through search engines, even if they were high-ranking and look legit.

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9. Utilize encrypted searchSome researchers believe that SEO poisoning techniques to cloak malicious content from security vendors and search engine crawlers can be used against the hackers. Poisoned sites refer to non-malicious content when traffic doesn’t come from a search engine. Use Google’s beta encrypted search to trick poisoned sites into not knowing where your traffic comes from (find it at httpS://

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10. Remind users that you’ve got their AV needs coveredA large majority of hackers use SEO poisoning to trick users into downloading fake AV scareware. Remind your user base that you already have AV installed and explain what a fake antivirus scan page looks like to avoid future problems.


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