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October 14th, 2010

Mining events for profit

The rescue of the 33 miners from the Chilean mine was an epic, record-setting event followed on TV, print, and internet by one of the largest audiences ever.

Not all of those watching were benevolent.

As interest peaked during the October 13 rescue, some of the search terms were hijacked. These were used to redirect internet surfers – particularly those without an effective antivirus program – to bogus sites and infect their computers with malware.

Some of the more than 35 infected terms included: Miners Rescue, Chilean Mine Rescue, and Rescate De Los Mineros

The cybercriminals interest in the miners was statistical, not emotional. With millions of people looking for information on their fate, cybercriminals had a higher statistical chance that some of them would click on an infected link. “If the search term is visible on Google Trends, it will be infected,” wrote Jindrich Kubec, avast! Virus Lab director of virus research,  in a midnight message to me.

Wherever people are gathering, there is a higher chance of encountering criminals on the hunt. The same principle is at work for malware and for pickpockets as they work over crowds of shoppers. The only difference is that one has a high-tech approach and the other has a direct, hands-on methodology as they reach for your wallet.

As the rescue attempt progressed, I found myself returning to search the internet for additional stories on the people involved and the interchange between technology, environment, and the rescue effort. In the last few days, I’ve  learned about miners, historical relations between Bolivia and Chile, drilling technology, and life underground. However, I did have my avast! Internet Security running all the time.

Now that the miners are safely out, I wish them a quick return to a normal life where they will no longer be used as a decoy for malware. And then I will soon be researching other things on the internet. My wife wants a new stove for the house and a henhouse for the back yard.

Categories: Technology, Virus Lab Tags:
  • bender

    September 13? try October 13.

  • Tech

    It’s unbelievable that even in painful situations people abuse for malicious purposes.
    Happy long life for the miners!

  • Clint

    It is to bad that people want to take a sad situation that turned out to be very happy. It is to bad when people make malware to infect people to certain websites like the Chilean miners situation.
    I wish the miners a speedy and healthy recovery.

    You are doing a great job avast team I would not trade you for any other antivirus software. Great job avast software keep up the hard work.

  • Valentino

    Well i think it is for this mix of feelings and hope that someone take advantage of the situation to plant a virus or any other kind of treaht.
    Just for the record me and my customers did not complain at all about an infection during the time those miners were watched all over the planet.
    Thank god they all saved now.

  • lteeef

    No wonder

    Hacker is not surprising that looking for any way to deploy its software malicious
    And in what way it was done is evil and the end justifies the means
    with my use Avast I am more than comfortable with the wicked

    Saudi Arabia

  • Juan Silva

    Thanks Lyle for concern for the miners. The miners are now well thanks to the rescue.
    On the other hand here in Chile there are many people fans for Avast.
    Greetings from Chile for the entire Alwil people in Prague.
    Sincerely Juan Silva from Chile.
    Sorry my english is bad.

  • Juan Silva

    It would be great in the near future include its antivirus an anti-phishing, because others antivirus are incorporated.
    I hope I have given you a good idea.
    Greetings from Chile.
    Juan Silva.

  • Jayson Messick

    I would LOVE to see Alwils version of an anti-phising screen!!!

    Finally, one that would work without slowing down my e-functions.

    Its really irrating as I get 50/50 Mbps when something as silly as there filter slows that down.

    Please, please, please make this a new pirate mission and get all the phishes to ‘walk th plank’!!!