How many times does this happen to users? You are browsing a website that appears to be safe and relatively innocent in search of a file. You come across what seems to be a legitimate download link, so you click it. However, that routes the user to a completely different site that at best is advertising and at worst is malware. Or the button downloads files onto your system that is not the file you were looking for.
Keeping computers secure has never been simple but nowadays just safeguarding against malware and viruses using software tools isn’t sufficient. Increasingly deceptive tricks are being utilized on the web. However, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is doing what it can to combat this.
For a long time the organization’s safe browsing has safeguarded against phishing but late last year it also introduced fresh features to safeguard against misleading links. Google declared yesterday that it is building on that by blocking websites with what it regards to be “deceptive ads.”
When ads or other embedded content act, feel and look similar to a trusted entity such as a user’s own browser or device or the website itself, or attempt to trick users into doing something they would only do for a trusted entity such as calling tech support or share passwords this will be regarded as deceptive.
Websites that regularly use these annoying practices have the risk of being flagged by Google. Chrome will display a big, red warning page that blocks you from entering the relevant website unless the user fully agrees with the risks.
Alphabet gave many examples in its blog post on the issue. Deceptive ads include update notifications, play buttons for media files, fake download buttons and more. This builds on existing safeguards against similar practices that were introduced in November last year. Past updates have safeguarded against major attacks such as content that feigns being from a government or bank or content that tries to trick users into dialing a fake technical support number. A few of these still get through Safe Browsing but appear to be less widespread than before.