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Fake search engines used to divert users to malware infected websites

According to researchers at PandaLabs, when internet users look for popular text searches such as 'flu statistics,' they are being offered URLs that lead them to websites containing video reports.

These video reports require users to download new 'video codecs' to view them, but the download/install code is actually a malware infection, says the IT security vendor Panda Security.

The nett result of the install is that users are infected with fake antivirus applications which then attempt to extort money from users by pretending their PC is infected and only the newly-installed IT security application can remove the 'infection.'

The situation is being compounded, Infosecurity notes, with a similar methodology applied to releases of the latest movies via BitTorrent file-sharing indexes.

A search for the latest Star Trek film - which is released to UK cinemas this week - for example, gives BitTorrent users access to what appears to be a 700MB download file of the film, which then requires users to install a 'Masters Release video codec.'

The download appears to be a piece of malware that routes users to a number of rogue websites using a bogus search engine add-in to the user's web browser software.

And as well as being infected, users still cannot view their copy of the Star Trek film - which appears to be another film entirely.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the infected copy of the Masters Release of Star Trek is being fileshared by thousands of users on the internet.