Sponsored Search Results Lead To Malware

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The ads served by Google along with your search results are linking more and more often to sites trying to infect your computer.

Google does little to protect you from these websites that can seriously damage your computer just by clicking on their links.

Search Results
Figure 1. All of the “Sponsored Results” are sites that contain harmful code and will infect your computer if you clicked on them. As you can see, Google does not display any type of warning.

Why would Google do this? The answer is simple: money. Google makes more money from these advertisements because people can’t tell the difference between legitimate anti-virus programs and fake anti-virus programs that are actually viruses themselves. People tend to click on them more than other, more obvious looking advertisements.

When search terms become popular, companies jump on them and buy up the keywords to appear in the results as a sponsored link. They pay more money than legitimate companies and are featured first, leaving you with a legitimate looking website to click on.

How to protect yourself from bogus search results

The best way to keep your computer clean from malware (bad software) is to avoid sponsored links altogether. Maybe if Google loses money on these ads they will be more willing to take them down when you complain about them. Be careful of websites with a hyphenated address (ie. Clean-PC-Forever.com) and website addresses with the word FREE in it (ie. FreeAntiSpyware.com).

Ways to fight back against online attack ads

You can report malicious website at https://hosts-file.net/ and you can report malicious sponsored sites to Google at https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/request.py?contact=violation_report and hope for the best.