“Hunger Games” Search Results Hide “Poisoned” Online Surprises

Norton Data Shows Internet Searches for Hollywood’s Hottest New Franchise May Return Dangerous Results for Fans

April 12, 2012

Norton Data Shows Internet Searches for Hollywood’s Hottest New Franchise May Return Dangerous Results for Fans

The dystopian world of the “Hunger Games” has enraptured millions of fans around the world, and cybercriminals are paying attention. Following the wild success of the young adult novel trilogy, the first blockbuster instalment of the series is slated to hit the big screen on April 13, and where there are curious fans scouring the Internet for information and exclusive sneak peeks, there are crafty cybercriminals looking to capitalize.

While video tutorials on character Katniss Everdeen’s trendy braid are innocent enough, Norton has found that a variety of searches related to the movies and books are turning up malicious results. Although difficult for the average user to distinguish, these “poisoned” links can instantly infect your computer with viruses, keylogging programs (which allow criminals to monitor your typing) and other software that can wreak havoc on your smartphone, computer or tablet. Ensuing problems can make you feel as though you’re battling against your devices.

To date, we have seen malicious results related to fans trying to find the copies of the full movie online and also on Suzanne Collins, author of the novels.

Top search terms that we’ve already seen returning poisoned results include:
• Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
• Hunger Games Free Movie Download
• Hunger Games Full Movie Torrent

Norton expects to see an increase in the number of poisoned search results as anticipation for the movie comes to a boil and are advising people to use best practices when searching for information online, including:
Choose your allies carefully – Katniss Everdeen wouldn’t trust the people trying to defeat her, and neither should you. Cybercriminals promise sensational content, such as leaked videos, to lure you into clicking on their poisoned links. Better to get your information from a website you trust, and use the free tool Norton Safe Web Lite to lead you to safe search results.
Know how to defend yourself – Online security software from a reputable company will identify malicious links and protect against other unseen threats. Norton 360 allows you to surf online safely and will warn you away from lurking foes.
Don’t be tempted by false hope – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Evaluate the information you come across as though it were propaganda from the Capitol – all that glitters isn’t gold so don’t let your curiosity overcome common sense.