Beware, these PDFs at the top of Google results are riddled with malware

It has become quite natural to refer to Google to search in seconds for just about anything that comes to mind. The fact that Google literally crushed the market is no coincidence. The search engine’s underlying algorithm remains unrivaled in the market to always present the most relevant results available and to ensure that users do not spend too much time finding an answer.

The Google Search algorithm is a well-kept secret. But with a little practice, it’s possible to guess how to appear higher in search results. Techniques that work for a longer or shorter time, and which are more or less easy to determine depending on the case. Usually the Internet users most interested in these questions are undoubtedly people who write on the web (news, blogs, etc.), and all professionals who seek to improve their positions in search results.

Hackers are now investing at the top of Google search results

Hackers were less likely to tackle the problem this way. Even if for a very long time they have taken the habit of uploading corrupted versions of the most popular applications of the moment, hoping to infect as many Internet users as possible. The bulk of the malicious activities causing the most economic losses for the victims were and still remain in 2022 phishing attempts.

The latter are generally based on emails in the colors of a legitimate service or company, but the user is quickly redirected to a page on which he must transmit a lot of sensitive information. Although they are becoming more and more sophisticated, phishing attacks mainly “bite” people who pay little attention to signs such as misspellings and strange domain names.

Yet a new, far more pernicious threat is on the rise – and it just so happens to sit high in Google search results. The advantage of this method, especially when hackers are targeting businesses, is that it’s a scenario that employees are unfamiliar with. Internet users are indeed much more inclined to trust one of the first results of a Google search than a phishing email.

Netskope security experts report a sharp rise in such attacks in 2021. Besides Google, other search engines like Bing are also said to be targeted. Netskope explains that the “download phishing increased in November 2021 only one from which hackers were more successful in placing [des fichiers PDF] very high in popular search engines by mobilizing common SEO techniques”.

These PDFs can take the form of fake CAPTHA screens, fake standard invoices, and many other documents that are commonly found in PDF form. Obviously if clicked, a sequence is triggered, leading to the installation of one or more malware. To protect yourself, it is recommended to avoid downloading PDFs from external sources as much as possible, especially in business.

Read also – These dreaded malware can be bought for a pittance

Having an effective anti-phishing antivirus like Bitdefender can also reduce the intensity of the threat. Anti-phishing protection systems work by blocking domain names assigned to hackers and other malicious actors by the publisher’s security experts:

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