This technique to spread viruses was only just discovered, and it’s clever.
Firstly it’s based on the assumption that people trust Google (which is a fair assumption since Google has done a lot to maintain good ethics and to help users avoid malware). So when people see a link to a Google site they would naturally assume it must be safe to click on.
Now someone sends you spam and in the body of the email is a link to Google’s website. The link is a clever trick that takes you to a gambling site containing a virus. How does it work?
On Google’s search engine there is a button called “I Feel Lucky“. This has been a distinctive feature of Google for many years and when you click on it, instead of showing you a page of results, it takes you directly to the first website. Now someone wishing to spread a virus just has to come up with some search terms that places their website at the top of Google’s results. Then they paste the link that created that search, with an option to take you straight to the “I Feel Lucky” link.
In short, it’s using a little known feature in Google to take you to someone else’s website, and the rest is reusing the usual spam and virus techniques.
For now this has been observed in spam emails and we should expect it to appear in other places such as websites, forum links, Facebook etc.
The best defence against this is to use a good antivirus package, one that checks webpages as well as the traditional virus checks.
It’s also good to pay attention to links before you click on them. Look out for things related to online gambling or pornography as these are the most common websites used to distribute malware.
And Google will most probably improve their systems to filter out exploits such as this one.