Google Ads Systematically Abused by Dominique René

August 28, 2019

The malicious technique of poisoning web search results with dodgy links is nothing new. One of the classic mechanisms of this manipulation involves keyword stuffing, where scammers set up websites inundated with trending terms to boost rankings in SERPs and thereby lure more visitors. Thankfully, search providers are constantly refining their algorithms to fend off this exploitation vector, and they have had some tangible success.

Whereas such vanilla tricks no longer work like they used to, cybercrooks have found a way to get around the increasingly sophisticated blacklisting features of the top search engines. A method gearing up for a rise takes advantage of Google’s ad network to promote aggressive tech support scams on a large scale.

Ads are more prominent in search results than regular entries, so the felons have really opened Pandora’s box by pushing their frauds this way. Below are the examples of such stratagems that have hit the headlines recently.

Popular queries returning sketchy adverts

In early June 2019, researchers discovered a defiant malvertising campaign with a tainted flavor of e-commerce and electronic payments. It targeted users looking up the terms “Lowe’s” and “PayPal” on Google.

The former being a well-known U.S. company from the home improvement sector, lots of people are opting for its services every single day and their experience starts with the....

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