SAN FRANCISCO (12/10/09)--Fake websites can trick search engines into giving them top billing so they can prey on consumers, according to a security expert from TraceSecurity, a CUNA Strategic Service. TraceSecurity Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Jim Stickley was recently featured by ABC News in a story on the fake sites. To illustrate the dangers posed by the fake sites, Stickley created a fictitious website purporting to be from Credit Union of Southern California. Stickley created a domain that appeared to be from the credit union--creditunionofsc.org--and placed several links on the site to give the appearance of depth, even though the links only led to pictures of the credit union’s front page (ABC News Dec. 8). Stickley was able to trick search engines Yahoo! and Microsoft’s Bing! into placing his fake site high on their search lists--even ahead of the Whittier, Calif.-based credit union’s real site. Google, however, did not place the site high in its search rankings. The search engine also placed a warning for users that the site may contain malicious content. The experiment caused Credit Union of Southern California to think about protecting its website more aggressively--by purchasing domain names that closely match its own, ABC said. Purchasing the domains would prevent scammers from creating a similar-looking website to harm the credit union’s members. To read the full article, use the link.