Google has been, for years now, the answer to many of our questions. And it’s not that he knows everything, of course, but he has an enormous ability to know where to find it. From the history of the Sumerian civilization to the hours of the pizzeria next door to our house, almost every time we have a question, our journey towards knowledge and information begins in the most used search engine in the world and, with few exceptions, in the end it turns out to be a very, very short trip.
Google is not perfect (like any other technological solution, of course), but the constant improvements made to the search engine since its birth, in 1995 as a prototype, have allowed what began as the project of two young and talented Stanford students to become become one of the largest technology companies in the world. Although there are other companies that offer similar services, Thinking about what our life would be like without Google today is a very revealing exercise..
Those responsible for the search engine constantly work on the famous algorithm, which is primarily responsible for the selection of search results and their order, something that brings communication professionals, SEO professionals and also, unfortunately, to cybercriminals. Why? Because being able to trick the search engine into showing results with malicious links in user queries is a very powerful diffusion vector.
These attempts occur constantly and are well known to the company, but according to a report published by Spamhaus Technologies, In recent days, malicious results in software searches on Google have increased substantially. To do this, and according to said information, cybercriminals are making use of the search engine’s advertising platform, and pretend to be the legitimate sites of the developers of said applications. This form of fraud is known as malvertising.
In case of obtaining a good positioning, even if it is paying, and creating a web page (to which the promoted link leads in Google), the malvertisers manage to deceive a good number of users, either to make them download applications other than the ones they wantedas a competitive product, make some kind of payment for software that is cheaper or free on its official page or, also unfortunately for the affected users, some kind of malware.
Google generally identifies and blocks malvertising, but cybercriminals are constantly working to find ways to bypass these security measures, and right now it seems they have found a hole that they are putting to good use, spoofing apps like Adobe Reader, Gimp, Microsoft Teams, OBS, Slack, Tor, and Thunderbird.
We can trust that Google will find, in the short term, a way to avoid this illegitimate use of Google Ads, but in the meantime, if you are looking for software, it is best to go directly to the website of its developer. And if you have doubts or you don’t know it, well, go to Google, but avoid sponsored links, you know, those that appear at the top identified as advertising.