Print 46 comment(s) - last by iFX.. on Nov 19 at 9:38 AM


Google sold ad space to this known malware site with its AdWords service. The oversight indicates Google has little filtering of what it sells links to.  (Source: Maximum PC)
Sale of ads to known malware site an embarrassing slip for internet giant Google

Search giant Google is known for its "do no evil" approach.  It goes to great lengths to protect the environment and it blocks sites on lists of known malware sites from being searched.

However, security researchers made an alarming discovery of a major slip-up for Google.  The site had allowed a known malware site to buy text ads and was placing these ads on its partner pages through its Google AdWords service.  The link was listed as “Antivirus XP 2008,” which led to the URL “” (Don't go there)

Why does this sound a bit familiar?  Well, "Antivirus XP 2008" happens to be the name of one of the most obnoxious malware to be developed in the last year.  The very widespread virus hides itself in users systems.  It pops up to warn them annoyingly with a fake antivirus dialog that their computer is infected with all sorts of bad things and the end may well be nigh -- or so it says.  The whole thing is really a scam, to try to get people to upgrade to an equally fake "pro edition". 

Getting rid of the virus is even more of a pain, as it does have one thing in common with antivirus software -- it regularly connects to the internet and updates itself.  However, unlike AV software, it updates itself to better evade virus scans.

While those familiar with computer security may spot the name instantly, the legitimate sounding Google link likely fooled many users.  The oversight is particularly impressive, considering the malware was listed under its own well known name.

Interestingly, Google searches for the site turned up no results, showing a dichotomy in that Google blacklisted the site from its search, but did not prevent it from advertising.

A Google spokesman responded to the incident, stating, "Google is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our users and our advertisers. As soon as we are aware of any violations of our policy, we work quickly to investigate and remove sites that serve malware in both our ad network and in our search results. As such, we've removed this site from our ad network."

Sure enough the ad was removed.  However, the oversight has left many wondering -- was this an isolated incident or the sign of a bigger problem?  In the end it's rather amazing considering how powerful and savvy Google currently is, that it either has little filtering or has a highly inaccurate filtering system of what sites are allowed to be advertised.

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Don't go there
By quickk on 11/14/2008 1:34:22 PM , Rating: 4
I don't know about you, but I couldn't resist going there after reading "don't go there"!

RE: Don't go there
By jemix on 11/14/08, Rating: 0
RE: Don't go there
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 11/14/2008 3:01:18 PM , Rating: 2
Naw, he just used someone else's computer. Much safer that way.

RE: Don't go there
By quickk on 11/14/2008 3:56:23 PM , Rating: 2
I guess that's what DailyTech did to get the image!

As for me, don't worry, I'm not running windows so I'm not affected.

RE: Don't go there
By borismkv on 11/14/2008 6:51:42 PM , Rating: 5
One of these days that attitude is going to come back to bite you.

RE: Don't go there
By sprockkets on 11/16/2008 12:18:21 AM , Rating: 3
If you try to go there with FF3, it says it is a known attach site and requires another click to go beyond it.

RE: Don't go there
By GaryJohnson on 11/15/2008 12:07:01 AM , Rating: 5
Only if you went there, clicked on 'download', downloaded their executable file, and ran it.

RE: Don't go there
By CU on 11/15/2008 9:36:21 PM , Rating: 3
Not always true. I have gotten this malware twice in the last year now without ever downloading or agreeing to install anything while using FireFox 3.

RE: Don't go there
By CU on 11/15/2008 9:37:29 PM , Rating: 3
I was using XP with admin rights though, but so to most people.

RE: Don't go there
By GaryJohnson on 11/16/2008 5:13:45 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps from another site, but in the page source for, the only exploitable thing is flash, and only if you have an older, specific version of flash. Which is difficult to have, given that it auto-updates.

RE: Don't go there
By CU on 11/16/2008 2:24:28 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it was from another site. Just don't know what site.

RE: Don't go there
By on 11/16/2008 7:03:06 PM , Rating: 2
actually, you have to accept the "free scan"

so you are wrong.

RE: Don't go there
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 11/14/2008 2:56:23 PM , Rating: 2
and if you saw a sign saying, "Danger Electric Fence", you'd still have to pee on it because you were told not to pee on the Electric Fence.

Sometimes rules and directions are good....

RE: Don't go there
By Gzus666 on 11/14/2008 4:45:06 PM , Rating: 2
I believe the game is called "Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence" for all you Ren & Stimpy lovers out there, me being one of them.

"Mr. Horse, how did you feel about that?" "No sir, I didn't like it"

RE: Don't go there
By sprockkets on 11/16/2008 12:14:58 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, when he fell off the building that was on fire, and how they played the music to make it sound like he was an injured soldier, then after being asked, he thought about it to the usual music.

That show has so many good moments.

RE: Don't go there
By KingofFah on 11/14/2008 5:56:27 PM , Rating: 2
"Never put salt in your eyes, never put salt in your eyes, never put salt, never put, never put, put, put, put, put salt in your eyes... Always put salt in your eyes!"

Anyone remember that?

RE: Don't go there
By joeld on 11/15/2008 3:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone read Harris and Me back in grade school?

RE: Don't go there
By quickk on 11/14/2008 5:29:09 PM , Rating: 2
Interestingly enough, when I first visited the site about 2 hours ago, firefox did not provide any warning about it being malicious.

I checked it out again, and this time I get a red warning page saying that it is a "reported attack site", and the advisory was provided by google.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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