Hackers are exploiting web users searching for Halloween-related content on the web, says Panda Security.
Research by the security vendor revealed that hundreds of websites designed to distribute fake antivirus software, are coming up top in results offered by some the web's most popular search engines.
Fake antivirus software, which is also known as scareware, encourages web users to part with their hard-earned cash to download hoax security software that serves no purpose.
According to Panda Security, these fake antivirus programs display aggressive messages to users claiming they are infected and that to resolve the problem they need to buy a license (for the program). A simple click will take the user to an apparently legitimate web page, from where they are defrauded.
Panda Security said web users should not click through to links or install software from untrusted sources and use a web browsing tool that alerts users to the reputation of the site; for example, whether it's classified as malicious. (See also "Is Your PC Bot-Infested? Here's How to Tell.")
See also: Malware used for ID theft on the rise
This story, "Nasty Halloween Trick: Fake Antivirus Sites" was originally published by PC Advisor (UK).