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updated 10/10/2011 8:18:56 AM ET 2011-10-10T12:18:56

Halloween is still a few weeks away, but online criminals are getting a head start on the holiday with a batch of new scams aimed at infecting your computer and stealing your personal information.

Researchers at the security firm Websense spotted one scam in which malware authors are spreading a rigged Web page called "Free Halloween skeleton templates."

The crooks manipulated Google's search engine to make their phony page appear near the top of searches for "Halloween skeleton templates." It's a trick called " Poisoned SEO " or "Blackhat SEO," and is widely used to capitalize on trending Web topics.

This particular Web page, Websense said, is not at all what it purports to be, and instead redirects visitors to what appears to be a YouTube video that claims to have nude photos of celebrities such as Emma Watson and Paris Hilton.

Of course, that's the lure; in order to see these supposed pictures, the poisoned page hits visitors with a fake Adobe Flash Player update.

Users who have been suckered in and end up clicking the "Download Now" button do not get the naked picture reward they hoped for. What they do get is a malicious Trojan called "scandsk.exe" dropped silently onto their computer.

Although it's unclear just what malicious payload the Trojan carries, you can be sure it's got evil designs on the sensitive data stored on your computer.

To ensure you don't become a victim of this or any other Halloween or holiday-themed malware scams, make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software installed on your computer, and be very suspicious about any website that asks you to download anything.

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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