Miles Associates LLC

Jim Miles – IT & IT Security Consultant – Web Sites for Growing Organizations

Why Can’t Google Stop Malware Ads on Adwords?

Why Can’t Google Stop Malware Ads on Adwords?

There has recently been an unfettered flow of advertising for malicious software on Google’s AdWords networks. How come Google can’t stop the malware? 

People make much of technical matters in security, but the most important force behind malware is social engineering, not some vulnerability or bad design. The current hot malware is a textbook case of social engineering and an aggressive marketing campaign.

You must have seen them by now: ads for “Antivirus XP 2008” or some variant of that name. In fact, here are some of the newer names used for essentially the same attack. The program is not malicious in most conventional senses: It doesn’t spread itself to other systems surreptitiously, it doesn’t steal passwords or anything like that. Instead it claims to be a security program. It performs a fake scan of the system and then claims to find numerous threats which the user can remove by buying a full license to the product (for $49.95).

But the most interesting way this threat has been spread has been is through advertising, most infamously through Google sponsored links.

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