What is the Most Common Goal of Search Engine Optimization Poisoning? 

Using a technique called search engine optimization (SEO), criminals and threat actors try to lure internet users into visiting malicious sites. They usually use a combination of keywords, which can create the impression that the site is relevant to many different topics. Depending on the keywords used, a site may be ranked higher on Google and Bing. 

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SEO poisoning has been around for years, but it has recently been reported to increase in frequency. According to cybersecurity vendor Zscaler, attackers are trying to manipulate the rankings of sites in order to gain access to sensitive data. It is also a strategy that has been used during major world events, such as the midterm elections. 

According to Menlo Security, a recent campaign aimed at targeting users reveals that the majority of users are clicking on malicious links. In this campaign, the bad actors created a webpage, which appeared to be an antivirus update, and asked users to enter their credentials. These hackers then downloaded a malware payload onto the user’s computer. This is known as a drive-by download. 

Another tactic is cloaking, which is the practice of hiding the true address of a website. Often, multiple domain names are used to mask the site’s “real” address. This allows the attacker to bundle malware or other incompatible software on the site, and inadvertently install it on the user’s computer. 

Typically, web-based malware can spam website visitors, launch denial-of-service attacks, and steal private information. If a malicious website does infect the system, it can even control the victim’s system. This is one of the reasons that you should be vigilant when performing online searches. You should always activate the security settings of your browser before making a search, and you should regularly update your security software. 

SEO poisoning can be very effective, but it is important to remember that most search engines are now smart enough to avoid it. In fact, according to Menlo Security, it is possible to be hit by an SEO poisoning attack while still unaware that you are visiting a malicious website. 

In addition to increasing the amount of traffic to a malicious website, the most common goal of SEO poisoning is to infect the victims’ computers with malware. The attackers use a combination of keywords and cloaking to trick the victims into believing that the site is safe to visit. This tactic is particularly effective during upcoming elections. 

In the case of a drive-by download, the attackers create a malicious web page and push it to the top of the Google or Bing search results. This is a method that is very effective, as it allows the malware to spread on the victim’s computer. This method is commonly used during natural disasters and during special events. In some cases, it can also help to distribute disinformation. 

In other cases, the perpetrators will create multiple web pages to conduct phishing attacks. These pages are usually designed to trick the victim into providing personal information.