Hackers have taken advantage of mounting interest in next year’s US presidential elections to create fake websites that serve up exploits.

Anti-spyware firm Webroot said that it has tracked hundreds of fake sites that lure visitors into downloading malicious files. Surfers may encounter these fraudulent websites after unknowingly selecting a dodgy URL from a list returned from a search or (more likely) after mistyping the name of a legitimate site.

The bogus sites are designed to appear as legitimate candidate web pages in an attempt to lure visitors into downloading infectious screensavers or videos. Once clicked, the links can then download a variety of spyware.