According to a recent report, Google plans to take a stance against sites promoting phony download buttons, fake play buttons and pesky pop-up ads that require you to do something you would rather not such as downloading a software to remove zillions of computer viruses that were reportedly found on your device.
The web search giant said that these sites would be blocked by default. But the move would be gradual as users are required to submit reports whenever they stumble upon one such site. So, Google will need some extra time to process consumer reports and see which sites made a habit of these practices.
The company explained that the sites would be blocked through the feature called Safe Browsing. The feature was rolled a few years ago with the sole purpose to shield users from accessing sites laden with malware or other sites that were simply considered unsafe by the search engine.
But last fall, Google started to block websites that tricked users into installing unsolicited software or reveal personal information to third parties. These moves are also known as social engineering attacks, Google experts explained.
The search giant, however, now wants to cleanse the internet even more, and block sites that deliver phony embedded content to make some cash. Unfortunately, some major tech sites sometimes insert a phony download button near the real one, as well. So expect Sourceforge and CNET among others to be blocked by default on Google’s search results pages.
Webmasters have already complained that they cannot manage the situation all on their own since oftentimes the deceiving content is delivered by random ad servers. And Google does not have a solution to the problem. It only says that ad providers may rotate ads on pages so users need to hit refresh several times to see the deceiving ads appear.
Webmasters aside, most Google users would benefit from the change. Google’s search engine records billions of search queries every day and tens of thousands of sites promote false advertising to get some extra cash. Unfortunately, the phony links also redirect users to dubious sites that infect their systems with malicious software such as keyloggers and viruses.
Google said that sites that contain phony download and play buttons, phony alerts to update an ‘out-of-date’ Flash player and other ads that try to mimic their functionality would be blocked and users would see a big red pop-up warning before trying to access the sites.
Image Source: Malwarebytes