Google Adwords have always been an attractive and efficient way for businesses to reach out to their targeted audience. However, it seems that cybercriminals have found a way to take advantage of Google’s system to spread their malicious programs.
Researchers from Bitdefender have discovered a new strain of malware that uses Google AdWords to spread. The malware, dubbed “Adware.Mac.SearchAwesome,” appears to be a legitimate browser extension that promises to improve the user’s web search experience. Once installed, it changes the user’s search engine and homepage to SearchAwesome.com, which is actually a fake search engine that displays irrelevant search results and ads.
The malware is spread through a Google AdWords campaign that targets users searching for specific keywords, such as “Firefox,” “Chrome,” and “Safari.” The malicious ad is disguised as a legitimate one, offering users a free browser extension. Once clicked, the ad redirects the user to a fake website that imitates the legitimate extension’s official page. The user is then prompted to download the extension, which is, in fact, the malware.
What makes this malware particularly dangerous is its persistence. Even if the user tries to uninstall the extension, the malware will still be present on the system and continue to display unwanted ads and search results. It can also collect the user’s browsing data and send it to the attacker’s servers.
To avoid falling victim to this malware, users should be cautious when downloading browser extensions and only download them from trusted sources. They should also keep their browsers and security software up to date and avoid clicking on suspicious ads or links.
In conclusion, while Google AdWords can be a powerful tool for businesses, users must be aware of the potential risks associated with it. Cybercriminals are always finding new ways to spread malware, and it’s up to users to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their data.
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