Al Gore, the former US vice-president, now a prominent green campaigner, had his website hacked to sell drugs yesterday.
Climatecrisis.net had been hacked to include links to various pharmaceutical products, including Viagra.
Hackers were able to get to the top of search results by creating links such as these.
A web search for "discount zovirax c.o.d." would then show up as being served from some university or other legitimate business site not affiliated with such pharmaceutical products.
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Spammers added tons of comments into various forums using custom search terms. These comments all lead to either a link within one of the forums or another site. The number of links from these forums pointed to one entry or page and raised its position in the search engine's results, said Symantec.