Google tool bar seekers tricked into downloading computer virus: security firm

SAN FRANCISCO, July 21, 2006 (AFP) – Computer hackers built a fake Google Tool Bar website to trick people into downloading a malicious program that could turn machines into "zombies," a US Internet security firm said on Friday.

E-mails containing Internet links to the bogus website and invitations to download Google tool bar software began circulating this week, according to SurfControl of northern California.

The phony website was a replica of the real one provided by the Internet search juggernaut based in Mountain View, California, SurfControl said.

Instead of the promised tool bar software, the site duped people into downloading a "Trojan," malicious computer coding hidden inside a seemingly harmless offering, according to SurfControl.

The "malware" was designed to let hackers take control of infected computers via the Internet, SurfControl said.

Computer users were advised to avoid the fake site and protect their machines with updated anti-virus programs that scan downloads for viruses.

Google did not respond to an AFP request for comment on Friday.