Fake download pages containing PUPS
What’s the threat?
Hackers are trying to install junk on PCS by tricking users into clicking fake adverts that let you download Chrome. Discovered by Lawrence Abrams of Bleepingcomputer.com, these ads appear when users type ‘chrome download’ into Bing, Microsoft’s rival to Google’s allconquering search engine.
You’ll see the advert at the top of the search results, under the heading ‘Get Chrome – Download Chrome Today’ (see screenshot). It looks legitimate because the URL is for Google’s home page ( www.google.co.uk), and the links below it are similar to those that have been used by Google in the past. It also looks professional, containing no spelling or grammatical errors.
Clicking the link takes you to ‘www. googlechrome2018.net’, which shows a fake Google home page, on which a box tells you to ‘download Chrome’. Clicking this installs Chromesetup.exe on your PC, triggering a wave of annoying PUPS, including adverts and browser extensions. If you’re already using Chrome, you’ll be instead shown a page prompting you to install the Chrome Search Manager extension.
How can you stay safe?
Microsoft tweeted that it had removed the advert after Mr Abrams contacted it ( www. snipca.com/27449), but that won’t stop similar attacks on both Bing and Google. To stay safe in future, always think twice about clicking searchresult adverts that promise to download software.
It’s much safer to look beneath the adverts and click either the official URL for that program (for Chrome it’s www.google.com/chrome), or a trusted third-party site from where you can download it. Better still, type the URL (if you know it) into your browser.