Malware silently delivers Google Ads to Unsuspecting Users

Malware silently delivers Google Ads to Unsuspecting Users

It is common knowledge that advertisements make good money and recently cyber criminals have been taking advantage of that. Two aggressive ad campaigns have been noticed recently by security experts at Sucuri and Malwarebytes. One involves tempting users to click on a video that hides an ad, while the other inserts advertisements into legitimate websites. Both take advantage of AdSense, a service provided by Google that allows website owners to insert ads into their websites.

Malware silently delivers Google Ads to Unsuspecting Users

Adult video is used to launch a hidden ad

The crooks behind this ad campaign create a blog with usually plagiarized content and use various black hat SEO techniques to make the blog appears much higher in the search results than it would otherwise. If you click on the link, you will land on a blog that has a layer on it. You will see an adult video with a “Play” button in the middle of it. If you click on the button, you would be clicking on a hidden ad instead. The video does not actually exist and is merely a screenshot so that user would click on it. Every legitimate user who clicks on the ad will earn income for the crooks. This is a very easy and profitable way to earn money.

Now, the interesting thing is that if you were to enter the website by manually typing the address, you would end up on the blog with the stolen content and no adult video with the hidden ad would appear. This is done so that the scheme would not be easily discovered by bots and researchers.

Hackers insert ads directly onto legitimate websites

The other reported scheme involves inserting ads into real websites without the knowledge of the owners. Some website owners as well as regular users have been noticing giant advertisements appearing on certain websites. The ads seem to show up on top of the website content and many owners are scratching their heads in confusion about why that is happening because they did not allow it themselves. The ads are able to affect websites on all sorts of platforms, including but not limiting to HTML, Magento and WordPress. It also appears that the ads will be displayed no matter if you are using the desktop or the mobile version of the web page.

According to specialists, the irritating advertisements are appearing because either the JavaScript code was manually inserted into the website’s source code or the JavaScript code is launched automatically by altering CMS files.

The worrying thing is that website owners are responsible for the ads that they allow to appear so if someones was to be blamed, it would unfortunately, be the site owners.

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