Only a few hours after the Friday’s 8.9 earthquake and the consequent tsunami hit Japan, security researchers noticed many poisoned Google search results for this news related searches that redirected web surfers to fake antivirus sites.
This situation nothing new. We’ve seen similarly poisoned search results for Haitian earthquake a year ago, for the recent New Zealand’s earthquake, for last year’s floods in Pakistan, etc.
Many people use search engines to find details about breaking news such as natural disasters, catastrophes, accidents, etc. Such hardly predictable events, have literally zero relevant results before they happen, so during the first few hours after the event almost any site with relevant information have good chances to rank high on Google. This short window when competition is quite light is all cyber-criminal need to have a steady traffic to their breaking new related doorway pages. Then, when every news site and blog add their 2 cents and there are plenty resources about those hot topics, only most reputable and most relevant web pages make it to the top of search results.
I decided to check the poisoned search results and here’s what I found: