Some fake Google ads could scam you and attack your systems. Avoid these specific ads and secure your device.
Google ads help Google provide free-of-cost searching options to its users. The annoying ads are helpful to search for your favorite product online as Google helps you find its website. However, these ads could be malicious, too, as researchers have identified fake ads that look real at first glance on the platform.
Bad actors try to confuse online users by adding malware in fake advertisements that look like legitimate ones. Then, when you click the legit-looking website URL, you see the hidden scam in it instead of the add-site you were expecting to see. This scam is rightly named “malvertising.”
Malwarebytes Threat Intelligence revealed these fake Google ads in their tweet last month. In a
Google search for “Youtube,” which offers a simple path to the video service, the search platform found that instead of providing a Youtube link at the top of the search results, Google surprisingly presented an ad for the site.
Initially, the ad with a correct URL (https://www.youtube.com) seemed legitimate. However, when clicked, a security alert from “Windows Defender” popped up claiming that the website was blocked “due to questionable activity,” indicating a Trojan Spyware issue. It notified to contact tech support for its solution.
Both the alert from Windows Defender and the “tech support” were not legitimate. BleepingComputer said that when you click “tech support,” they ask you to download TeamViewer on your computer to fix your issue remotely. Unfortunately, malicious users would use the TeamViewer to hack your computer, lock you out of it, steal your sensitive information, or demand ransom, as the software gives your computer’s full control to another user.
Although your Youtube search on Google would not show any ad, the malvertisements stand a chance of showing up anytime during your Google search. As a result, the malicious ads might appear above typical results with fewer ways to identify their malice without clicking them.
How to avoid fake Google ads?
The best way to avoid malicious Google ads is to look for official search results appearing below ads that show up during a Google search.
Subtle signs show you whether a site is original, according to Malwarebyte’s tweet. For example, the aforementioned Youtube search will show only the site’s name as a legitimate result and not “YouTube – Official Website.” Moreover, the website text will provide a quick summary of the Youtube platform against the malicious site that does not correctly describe the site.
Still, if you happen to visit a malware ad, close the window immediately, avoiding “alert” instructions and not installing any software.