CNet News reports that spammers and scammers are exploiting Google Doodles. As you can imagine, there are many people who click on the Google Doodle from the Google home page. Clicking on the logo will trigger a search result in Google. If you look at Google Hot Trends for yesterday, you will see that the number 8 query on that list was ll zamenhof. It was pretty popular, and spammers and scammers of course took notice.
CNet reported that “Dave Michmerhuizen, a research scientist at Barracuda Networks, found 31 poisoned sites among the first 100 results, 27 of them in the first 50 sites alone.” Google took notice and removed most of these malware sites either automatically or by hand – yes, Google removes sites from their index when they have malware. Google told CNet, “As you probably know, the use of popular search terms to target malware is neither a new vector nor unique to any particular search engine. We work hard to protect our users from malware, and using any Google product to serve malware is a violation of our product policies.”
Yesterday we covered an interesting Google Doodle for L.L. Zamenhof. In fact, we received a nice amount of traffic from Google to our short write up about the Doodle. Just take a look at the Google Trends graph from yesterday:
I doubt this is the first time spammers went after Google Doodle traffic. But I believe this is the first time a major publication covered it in the news.
Postscript From Danny: Web Security: Be Careful Clicking on the Google Doodle has more details from the security company. Looking today at the top results, I don’t see malware sites, but I do see a number that are redirecting and linking to the CNN home page. It’s weird and disturbing. These sites shouldn’t have been able to rank so quickly in Google. I have follow up questions out.