back to article No-good scareware varmints exploit Wild West game

Varmints are exploiting interest in a treasure hunt tied to popular Wild West-themed game Red Dead Redemption to lay scareware traps. One aspect of the game is a treasure hunt, which features cryptic clues and drawings linked to landmarks in the gameworld where hidden virtual bars of gold might be found. Surfers looking to …


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  1. lglethal Silver badge

    This surprises me...

    I have to admit this surprises me as your average gamer (or at least i would expect for a game like Red Dead Redemption) should be able to spot a scareware popup with ease. So i cant imagine that this would gain too much in the way of sales for the scareware app itself.

    If it was a trojan that stole credit card details or made this a zombie client then i could see it being a way for miscreants to make money (and who knows that might be a backdoor route of this infection which hasnt been noticed yet). But pushing Scareware to people who are at least relatively tech saavy doesnt sound like an overly profitable venture to me!

    1. Sub Wrath

      more successful than youd think

      gamers have been targets from scams for years, they fall for them just as much as anyone else. afaik the game itself is only on console, and just because you own a console doesn't mean you're particularly clued up about dodgy scareware or hacked websites touting trojans. looking at some posts on games forums makes me think quite the opposite, actually.

    2. LinkOfHyrule

      To Imply most gamers are clever is frankly...

      To Imply most gamers are clever is frankly bollocks! Gamers are probably a great market for scammers to go after. Only a few are geeky types like us, many players of so called "hardcore games" are just playing the games that are popular for their system or within their peer group. And with all the cracked software, the causal games for non techy people, promises of add-ons, level-ups for MMO's and cheats it's probably a great market to get into if you're a scammer.

      My brain hurts, too many games *droools* and my thumbs are buggered!

  2. Rogerborg

    What a great marketing ploy

    By Sunbelt Software, I mean. It's not like anyone in the media is going to fact check it - they'll just link to the Sunbelt site. Like El Reg just did, in fact.

  3. I didn't do IT.

    Google's capabilities?

    Wait a minute here... Google crawls all over the web, and obviously caches the pages that it views and links to. Google already does analysis of the links, the text on the page(s), and who knows what else - Why isn't Google searching for malware on the sites it indexes?

    If Google finds malware on a site, it doesn't index it, and sends an automated message to the "webmaster@" address on the page. Are there concerns about liability? Misidentification? Surely it would be a simple DB lookup to make sure that if they are an AdWords customer they get indexed anyway...

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      They Do

      AFAIK they do, but the SEO types know enough to use cloaking to hide the malware. It's easy for them to do because the googlebot clearly identifies itself.

      Some links do warn you that there may be malware, others presumably don't appear at all

      Even google can't catch everything all the time!

    2. Rob Morley

      Who dares question the mighty Google?

      // Why isn't Google searching for malware on the sites it indexes? //

      It is, as you'd have seen if you'd read the blog post. It tags the result with "This site may harm your computer" and if you click on the title it takes you to a warning page, where you can access Google's analysis of the malware threat.

  4. Elmer Phud
    Thumb Up

    Buried treasure

    Maybe it should be thought of as part of the game.

    After all, just about everyone has seen an Indiana Jones film by now so they know that there are spiky traps, falling balls and snakes to get the unwary and foolish.

    Sometimes it's not who has the biggest gun but where you tread that leads to the gold.

  5. ZenCoder

    Web of Trust plugin

    I install it on all my browsers. It quickly checks a url for malicious activity and warns me before the page can load. If its a false positive I can research myself then click through to the site.

    It won't protect you against everything but it will stop you from being the 100,000th idiot to get infected by clicking on some link that is spreading through facebook or myspace.

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