A botnet has been discovered to be stealing advertising revenue from a number of large search engines and funnelling it to smaller networks.
According to the Register, the Bahama botnet was caught in the act by researchers at Click Forensics, who found that the malware would deceive users of infected computers by sending them to counterfeit search sites that looked like the real thing – even showing the correct URL.
The malware even sourced links from its genuine counterparts and would send users to a genuine website, however it would first redirect them through a series of ad networks that would receive a referral fee for the boost in traffic.
“The idea is to make money through click fraud,” said Click Forensics risk analyst Matt Graham. “When those people actually do searches, that's when these guys can display these ads hidden in the organic search results.”
See below for a video of how the botnet operates.