Scammers Buying Adwords Could Scare People Away From Clicking Google Ads
from the apparently dept
By now it should be pretty obvious that there are all sorts of lucrative online scams out there, often run by organized crime groups. The latest, though, is an interesting move (though it's not clear how widespread this is). Some scammers are apparently purchasing Google Adwords ads on high traffic keywords, but pointing those ads to a malware site that installs a trojan keylogger. Victims may never even know they went to a scam site, as the scammers simply pass the visitor through to a real advertising page after stopping long enough at an interim page to have the keylogger kick in. Of course, depending on your perspective, this could be seen as either good or bad. On the good side, it could mean that traditional means of tricking people into visiting sites haven't been working as well lately, so scammers now need to spend some money to convince people to visit questionable sites. Others, however, might point out that it's equally likely that these types of scams have become so lucrative that it's actually quite worthwhile to invest a little money in getting more victims, and that the ROI on such things is likely to be quite high. Then again, there's a pretty good chance that the scammers aren't actually paying and are simply using stolen credit card info. From Google's standpoint, a report like this is potentially a huge worry. If this becomes more common, especially on big time keywords, it could seriously wipe away some of the trust people have that Google ads are safe. If that happens to enough people, it could be a drain on Google's earnings as a group of people simply stop clicking on google ads. Google claims it's blocked a bunch of these already, but if reports start coming out that there are victims of this type of thing (we'll note that, in typical security industry FUD style, there's no actual evidence that anyone has fallen victim to this scam) it could represent a big challenge to Google's business model.