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After contaminating the search results on major search engines such as Google and Bing, search engine optimisation (SEO) poisoning is set to pose a threat to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

SEO poisoning is a technique used by malware authors to mix rogue search results with legitimate ones. This attack, coupled with news items that are of interest to users, is a lethal combination.

Conservative estimates put the loss due to these malicious attacks at anywhere between Rs 460 crore and Rs 920 crore, industry experts said.

“In India, while large enterprises demonstrate awareness of today’s information issues and are implementing more effective solutions to secure and manage their data, the biggest gaps are among SMEs,” said Vishal Dhupar, managing director of Symantec India.

He added, “According to our survey conducted this year, Indian SMEs have the lowest deployment rate of security solutions across the Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) region. About 61 per cent of Indian SMEs are unaware of present-day IT security threats and they are reluctant to adopt technology, as the owners are not technology-savvy.”

SEO poisoning strives to hijack legitimate websites to use their clean reputations, so compromised websites will always be desirable from an attacker’s perspective in an SEO campaign.

“SEO poisoning is a global phenomenon. As the Internet knows no boundaries, India too is significantly affected. Furthermore, according to the Internet Security Threat Report, India is among the top three countries in the APJ region affected by malicious activity. With growing Internet infrastructure, burgeoning broadband population and rampant software piracy, the country is set to witness an increase in these malicious activities,” Dhupar added.


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