Hungarian internet users searching for “whores” (kurvák) or “gangsters” (gengszterek) found themselves directed to the website of the ruling Fidesz party and the Catholic Church this week. This was the result of a “Google bomb” attack, which takes advantage of the fact that the search engine ranks pages by the number of links and keywords pointing to them on the web.
The perpetrator, known on internet forums as “csempesz bela” (Béla the Smuggler), appears to have spent two weeks creating 500 links to the sites in order to fool Google’s search algorithm. Csaba Maulis of the anti-virus software firm G Data told the news website index.hu that the attack was the largest of its type ever seen in Hungary.
Google bombs have a long history outside Hungary, however. During the 2004 US presidential election, those looking for a “miserable failure” found themselves directed to George W. Bush’s Whitehouse biography (more scatological phrases such as “dumb mother****** were also linked to the former president).
In 2008 the shady hacker group Anonymous arranged for the search term “dangerous cult” to lead googlers to the website of the Church of Scientology, on which it had declared cyber war. And French internet users ganged up in 2010 to ensure that anyone surfing for a “trou du cul” would find president Nicholas Sarkozy’s Facebook page at the top of the list.