The FBI is now telling people to use ad blockers. why.
Whether you use Google, Bing, or another search engine, a new public service announcement (opens in a new tab) from the FBI says you should be careful about clicking on ads.
Cybercriminals: now use ads on search engines to look like real brands, just like they do in phishing emails and on fake websites. Then, these fake ads are used to lead people who don’t know better to malicious sites that have malware and ransomware on them.
We saw this for ourselves in November when cybercriminals bought ads on Google Search for the popular Photoshop alternative GIMP. Even though the ad told people to go to “GIMP.org,” which is the official site for the program, they were taken to a fake site that put the VIDAR information-stealing trojan on their computers.
Because of this, the FBI now suggests that users install one of the best ad blockers for their browsers to protect themselves from fake ads in search results.
Using Search Results To Promote Sites with Malware and Phishing Scams
The FBI says that cybercriminals buy ads “using a domain that is similar to an actual business or service” in order to manipulate search results. Then, when a user looks for it, these fake ads show up at the top of the search results on Google, Bing, or other search engines
Since it’s getting harder to tell what’s an ad and what’s a real search result, people often click on the first thing they see instead of scrolling down the page.
Users are taken to a phishing site that looks just like the real site when they click on fake ads that pretend to be from a business. When you log in or try to buy something on one of these sites, it’s easy for the hackers who run it to get your account information.
When it comes to software, though, fake sites have links to download malware. But because the download page looks real and the file users are trying to download has the same name as the real program, they are more likely to install malware or another virus on their own.
How to keep bad ads from hurting you online
Even though search engine ads are not inherently bad, you should be careful when clicking on them because cyber criminals can easily take control of them. Before clicking on any ad you see in search results, the FBI advises you to check the URL to make sure it’s real.
If you know the website of a business or service, you should type it into the address bar of your browser instead of using a search engine. But be careful not to misspell it, because cybercriminals often buy domains that look similar in the hopes that users will misspell them and end up on their sites. This is called typosquatting, and it’s a very easy way for cybercriminals to get their hands on your login information or infect your devices with malware.
It’s up to you if you want to keep clicking on ads that show up in search engines or not. But if you install one of the best antivirus programs on your devices, you can rest easy knowing that fake ads or websites won’t be able to spread malware to you. In the same way, the best identity theft protection services help keep you safe from fraud and can also help you get your identity back if it gets stolen.
Now Are Days Best Antivirus
- McAfee Antivirus Plus
- Bitdefender Total Security