Caution! Clicking on the wrong “download” button/link can install a virus on your computer, even from Google Advertisements!
I have a rant that needs to get out!
This morning I was greeted with an email from my friend, Nicole Dean about her new post “Sneaky Ad Got Me…. Good. (aka the Story of How I Downloaded & Then Got Rid of the FunMoods Virus).” I jumped right over to her blog to check it out.
Nicole was stumped by the same thing that happens to all of us at least once (and sometimes twice) in our lives. It's what I like to call “the tricky advertisement of doom.” She was trying to download a program and clicked on the wrong download button/link on the page, which then downloaded junk to her computer including a program which is known as malware, a browser hijacker, and/or virus.
In my screenshot below, notice that there are 4 “download” links on the page. (Talk about confusion!!!) Your eye is immediately drawn to the blue download button because it looks “real” and where you would “expect” the download link to be located. It's got all the tricky factors: the nice blue button, a version #, operating system information, language, etc. that makes us immediately think it is the one to click.
Well, that's wrong!!! Look at the red outline above in the screenshot that shows the “real” download link. What makes this matter so much worse is that the two blue “download” buttons above are advertisements served by Google!
And when you click on the “Download” button, the links are served by googleadservices.com. What happened to code of conduct? Ethics? Google guidelines? And how dare Google pay people for hosting these ads and pay per clicks for distributing malware. And what about the website owner hosting those ads? Don't they care if someone gets their computer infected?
Please be careful when clicking on links! And be sure to hop over to Nicole Dean's website and read her story here. And while you're over on her site, be sure to opt-in to her email list.
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How does this make you feel? Do you think Google should monitor ads closer? Do you think that these site owners should be reported to their hosting company?