Search Engines Vetting Failures
Google is currently losing their minds! Why? Bing has allowed a malicious link to display that is serving up malware instead of a legitimate download for Google Chrome. But, to be fair, Google is just as guilty…
Here’s the story:
Last April, Bing was found displaying a fraudulent advertisement when users would search for “Google Chrome download”. Instead of directing users to a legitimate download site, it would send them to a fake site full of malware. Bad right? We agree. This ad had since been removed. However, a replacement has now hit Bing’s search engine. Users are rightfully upset because search engines should be doing their due diligence to ensure the ads they’re serving up to users are legitimate. But they’re not.
Google is particularly upset because it is a fake ad for Google Chrome. Again, we get it. But Google also has a history of failing at properly vetting their paid advertisements. We cannot even begin to tell you how many times we’ve had to file DMCA notices for fraudulent PC Matic support websites that Google promotes as paid ads. Even after the pages have been taken down, Google will still display them in search results.
So, before Google gets too upset with Bing, perhaps they should look at their vetting processes as well.
Avoiding Malicious Ads
As far as avoiding these malicious ads — users need to simply do their own due diligence, and not rely on the search engines to do it for them. Here are a few key tips for search engine best practices:
- Ensure the destination URL is going to a legitimate website — not a copy-cat or third-party site.
- Look at more than the first search result
- This isn’t foolproof, but it helps — be sure the landing page is secure by confirming it is prefaced with https:// instead of http://
- If you know the direct landing page URL, you don’t need to search for it — this only increases the odds you’ll click on something malicious. Instead simply type in URL in the browser’s address bar.
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