Fake down­load pages con­tain­ing PUPS

Computer Active (UK) - - Protect Your Tech -

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.

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