Security Advisors Warn of Poisoned iPad Search

Dennis Faas's picture

There are a handful of people already cashing in on the iPad, well before Apple has had a to release the product to the masses.

Security officials are warning computer enthusiasts everywhere to approach with caution when visiting a website containing information about the iPad device. That's because a number of fraudsters have rigged their websites that promise pertinent information on the tablet computer, but instead deliver a malware payload to the user visiting the site.

Hackers "Poison" Online Searches

According to Ivan Macalintal of Trend Micro, hackers tend to "poison" online searches by rigging websites with word choices likely to be used as search terms. This assures prominent rankings on results pages. Macalintal believes that the illicit sites started appearing last Wednesday, the day the iPad was first unveiled.

Once the malware is installed, the user is told that their computer is infected with malware (which technically does not exist). The scam is to have users fork over their credit card information under the impression that this will "fix" the problem.

Scareware: Increasingly More Prevalent

This type of malware (or, "bad software") is often referred to as "scareware." Scareware infection rates soared in 2008, seeing an increase of 225% from the year prior. In recent times, hot topics like the earthquake in Haiti and the death of Michael Jackson were all known to lead to the production of scareware and other forms of malware.

Symantec security expert Candid Wueest also sent out the following warning to users on behalf of his employer: "We can all expect to see iPad-related spam and phishing attacks hitting consumers hard over the coming weeks. We'd advise the curious to be on their guard." (Source:

The iPad is slated to beginning shipping worldwide this coming March. (Source:

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