Darkreading reported that criminals are “using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to populate search results with malicious links and distribute the Zeus Panda Banking Trojan through a compromised Word document.”  The November 3, 2017 article entitled “Hackers Poison Google Search Results to Deliver Zeus Panda” included these comments:

SEO enables hackers to make their links more dominant in search results.

In this case, attackers are “poisoning” the results for specific keywords related to banking and finance, effectively narrowing their victim pool to a specific group so they can steal financial information.

The article included these comments from Earl Carter (threat researcher for Cisco Talos and one of the authors who detailed this discovery):

SEO poisoning by itself isn’t really new,…People have always been trying to manipulate search results. What was unique is they’re using it in the distribution of malware.

We all need to rely on common sense with search engines!