Cybercriminals manipulate Google search results and distribute malicious software to individuals who are not exercising vigilance
Researchers at Securonix have discovered a malicious campaign using fake WinSCP to trick people into installing real WinSCP software. The campaign, known as "SEO#LURKER," involves changing Google search results and putting fake ads in them. The malicious ads send people to a hacked WordPress site called "gameeweb[.]com," which then sends them to a phishing site controlled by the hackers.
Attackers use Google's dynamic search ads to create redirect ads, with the main goal being to trick users into visiting a fake WinSCP website with the domain "winccp[.]net" and downloading malware. The correctness of the link header directly affects the success of the redirect, and if the link is set up incorrectly, hackers can easily "rickroll" the user.
Malware is sent in the form of a ZIP archive with an executable file inside, and the fake WinSCP installer is needed to maintain the mask of deception. Python scripts that run in the background are also used to communicate with the attackers' remote server and provide instructions on how to run commands on the infected device.
While malware is spread through Google Ads, hackers could use the same method to target users of other popular software.