Hacked Website Spam Running Rampant in Google Search Results


Over the past couple weeks, I have been seeing more and more hacked websites rank very well for topical keywords in the Google search results. It appears that all of the sites in question are in fact legitimate websites but somehow share a common vulnerability which enables them to be exploited by the hackers to easily rank for specific keywords and distribute malicious spyware.

For example, I just tried a search for more information on “Anthony Sowell” who is the serial killer in Cleveland that the evening news keeps covering. The screenshot below shows that the four websites ranked from the 6th to 9th positions are all compromised and share the same parameter “?kkk=anthony-sowell.”

If you click on any of those 4 results, you will be redirected to another domain that attempts to install the malware on your computer.

Want more screenshots? You got it.

I picked some more examples of trending keywords on Google Trends, such as the company “Coins for Anything” that was recently highlighted in the news. Five of the Top 10 results are spam.

And yet another one for some guy named “Robert Lozier.” In this case, 3 of the Top 4 results are spam.

I have seen other variations such as “?q” and “?loop” and “?mowp” so it’s not just the “?kkk” parameter.

Historically, I think Google has done a pretty good job of combating spam and malware sites in their search results, especially when compared to any of the other search engines, but it seems recently that the amount of spam has increased significantly. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Category Google | Tags: Google,google serps,hacked websites,malware

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3 Comments so far
by Tweets that mention Hacked Website Spam Running Rampant in Google Search Results | Streamline Metrics — Topsy.com

On November 4, 2009 at 11:16 pm

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marty Weintraub, Patrick Smith. Patrick Smith said: What’s with all of the hacked website spam in the Google search results lately? http://bit.ly/3IL0Xw #seo #google #spam @mattcutts […]

by Google Still Sucks at Real-Time Search | Streamline Metrics

On December 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm

[…] There’s no denying that search engines have always been prone to spam. However, I am probably not alone in thinking Google historically has done a pretty good job of combating spam and that their search results are much more relevant this year than they were five years ago. That being said, in just the past few months I have noticed that a lot of “hacked” websites in addition to other low-quality sites were starting to rank very well for popular trending keyword phrases. (I blogged about this earlier this month – Hacked Website Spam Running Rampant in Google Search Results) […]

by Garrett