Click Here To Get Infected With A Virus!

from the and-people-click dept

Remember back in the early days of internet banner advertising, when the “rules” were that you had to include the phrase “click here!” somewhere in your banner ad to let clueless surfers know that they could actually click on the ad and dig deeper into your advertising goodness? Apparently, that old “click here” trick still works — even when the ad is promising to infect your computer with a virus. A security researcher put up a Google text ad reading: “Is your PC virus-free? Get it infected here!” Apparently, that was enough to convince 409 people to click on the ad over the course of about 6 months. As the Wired blog post notes, it’s quite likely that some of those people figured it was a joke and were curious and another group probably only skimmed it quickly and naturally assumed it was for an anti-virus product. Still, it’s an interesting bit of data — made even more interesting by the guy saying that no one ever complained about the ad and Google never noticed it.


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Comments on “Click Here To Get Infected With A Virus!”

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85 Comments
TechNoFear (profile) says:

Limits to everything but stupidity.....

I worked creating on-line share trading software for a while.

We had a ‘white label’ product and resold it to different brokers, including two major banks.

The online account creation form had been used for over a year without issue (or much change).

For some reason 10% of the new bank’s customers ‘ticked’ every box on the form, even the mutually exclusive choices.

IronChef says:

Yep, I fell for it.

I like admitting mistakes. But understand that the most influential person I’ve ever met in my professional life had this to say about mistakes “Only when sleeping do you make no mistakes. Mistakes are the privilege of the active person, who can start over and put things right.”

I remember seeing this ad and clicked on it thinking it was a link to a dry-humor joke site. I figured that Google had some quality control mechanism– possibly limit credit cards for ads to business credit cards.

When I clicked on it, it scared me because all it did was close my browser window. Spent a whole day virus-scanning, SpyBotting, and optimizing registry settings.

In the end I’m happy that I did because my computer runs quite a bit faster now, but that certainly doesn’t excuse Google’s lax QC standards…

Ron Larson (profile) says:

In high school I worked weekends at an equipment rental yard. One morning this guy rented a sand blaster. So I hooked it up to his hitch and then fired it up to demonstrate how to use it.

He grabbed the hose from me and tells me he already know how to use it. He turns it on the air pressure, then the sand valve, but nothing comes out.

Then to my shock he decides to check the sandblaster by pointing the nozzle at his hand to feel for air coming out. I was shocked! I grabbed the hose from him and yelled at him for being such an idiot. “What if some sand decided to come out just then?”, I screamed at him. “You would have lost your hand!”

The guy just looked at me stupidly. I showed him how to test for air pressure by sprinkling some loose grains of sand on the ground and pointing the nozzle at them.

I just remember looking at this idiot wondering how on earth he had managed to live to the age he did and still have his limbs intact.

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