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Google Crime Security Your Rights Online

Google Targets Fake "Download" and "Play" Buttons (torrentfreak.com) 117

AmiMoJo writes: Google says it will go to war against the fake 'download' and 'play' buttons that attempt to deceive users on file-sharing and other popular sites. According to a new announcement from the company titled 'No More Deceptive Download Buttons', Google says it will expand its eight-year-old Safe Browsing initiative to target some of the problems highlighted above. 'You may have encountered social engineering in a deceptive download button, or an image ad that falsely claims your system is out of date. Today, we're expanding Safe Browsing protection to protect you from such deceptive embedded content, like social engineering ads,' the company says.
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Google Targets Fake "Download" and "Play" Buttons

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  • Some sites get ridiculous with that.

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:08PM (#51441111)

      SOME!?
      More like nearly ALL!

      I've seen download sites for FOSS software have a lot of this crap. It gets confusing for me as an IT professional sometimes to figure out the legit download links, I can't imagine how normal computer users manage to navigate the hazardous waters long enough to actually get a legit non virus laden download. Then you have even legit downloads from massive companies filled with toolbars (like adobe reader and flash).
      Like shark infested water. Hopefully this move will do some good

      • IMGBurn. Not FOSS, but freeware. There's even ads on their site with the IMGBurn icon and a download button but they are for PC Mechanic.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Sourceforge user?

      • Download Now (Score:4, Insightful)

        by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:52PM (#51441441)

        |\
        |--\
        |----\ Click to start
        |----/ DOWNLOAD
        |--/
        |/

      • Too true. Many sites have giant "DOWNLOAD" buttons that are just malware, then a small text link of the actual software.
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ShaunC ( 203807 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:31PM (#51441283)

      I agree. There are tons of fake download links on otherwise reputable sites, there are gray area sites like TPB where you have to be careful what you click, and there are tons of fake download sites where none of the links are legitimate at all. Try Googling for "[random device] driver" and you get many dozens of bullshit SEO'd sites where all the links point to some EXE full of who-knows-what. I hope they're going to combat all three categories.

      As an aside, I wonder if SourceForge will get penalized...

      • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

        by yuhong ( 1378501 ) <yuhongbao_386NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday February 04, 2016 @04:21PM (#51441643) Homepage

        SourceForge will likely be fixed, there was another Slashdot story on this.

      • Now I wonder whether Sourceforge's new or previous owners were aware of this before the official announcement.

        • BizX, LLC is Sourceforge's new owners. Perhaps you missed TFA [slashdot.org]. Whipslash [slashdot.org] has been quite engaged [slashdot.org] already with the community, unlike our old DICE overlords.
          • Hence, "before the official announcement". It wouldn't surprise me if Dice had heard of this policy weeks ago, perhaps as a friendly warning, and decided to sell before they got hammered.

      • by PRMan ( 959735 )
        Sad that The Pirate Bay is only a Medium bad site and other "legit" sites are much worse.
        • That's surprising. I just went there as a test with a browser that had no adblocker or script blocking installed, and sure enough, the site popped open a page telling me some critical software was out of date, trying to trick me into upgrading.

          Honestly, I think Google's a little scared by the advent of adblockers, which also tend to both implicitly and explictly double as malware blockers. I see this as a move by them to make web browsing safer without having to resort to installing ad blockers. They can

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not just sites


      +------+
      | Play |
      +------+

      I heard it happens in the comments of sites, too!


      +----------+
      | Download |
      +----------+

    • New subject question about how long, the answer is "The google don't care, just like the honey badger." Or you could reword it in terms of the google's new motto: "All your attention are belong to us."

      However, the post by OverlordQ that I'm responding to said:

      Some sites get ridiculous with that.

      No, it is NOT the websites or even the app, though there are things an app developer can do that can make it easier or harder for scammers to use that sort of misleading ad. The REAL problem is that the google don't care about scams or the victims ther

    • Can we get them to target fake Next and Previous buttons too
  • I get it if those ads are part of Google's network, but they rarely are. How would Google target them (in Chrome or whatever) when they're basically just images, unless they do some kind of image parsing for literally every image that loads, in which case, bye CPU cycles.

    • Re-purpose (Score:5, Funny)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @02:59PM (#51441039)

      How would Google target them

      You know that 20% of free project time Google employees get? Yeah, now it's looking for download button images.

      It's not even like they lose anything as they only tell the Google workers that were surfing porn anyway to save off URL's as they browse.

    • Did you miss the memo? Google Owns the Internet. They can do anything.

    • They may add an ad-blocker to Chrome ... to block and ad that is not coming from Google.

    • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:13PM (#51441147) Homepage

      When you visit a web site flagged by Safe Browsing (in Chrome), there's a full screen warning before allowing you to go to the site. They could probably replace the ad image with a similar warning that you have to click through in order to load the ad.

      But it looks like they're just flagging the whole page (see the article linked in the headline - hey, whipslash [slashdot.org], we don't want this), letting the site owner take the damage to their reputation for allowing the ads.

    • I believe there will be two ways users are warned. One occurs upon attempting to visit a website with deceptive ads in Chrome, in which an interstitial is displayed warning the user that the site may engage in deceptive practices. The other is when clicking links to such websites when they show up in Google searches. This already occurs to some degree when alerts like "this site may be hacked" or "this site may harm your computer" are shown alongside search results.
    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:45PM (#51441371)

      Sites want to get indexed by google. If a site hosts ads that have bullshit Deceptive practices google can downrank them. Google doesn't have to be 100% effective. Even a crude system for spotting these is going to turn up hits if a site isn't blocking these kinds of adertisers. And so on. If a site doesn't do it's own ads but instead hosts ads from and advertising aggregator and they do this bullshit then the site will drop them to stay in google's good graces.

      And so all google has to do is scan adds that show up in content providers and then punish them. so it's top down.

      They can also try to go bottoms up, and seek out companies that do these kinds of ads but that's going to be impossible to block unless they are actually hosting the page. However that's not completely nuts. companies like Opera and Amazon who offer compression and caching of web pages in their browsers do have the capacity to edit the webpage to remove content from ad agencies they deem to be scum.

        Does google do that for android mobile? (I have no idea). But apple is talking about ad blocking. And thrid parties like ad block plus have the capability to erase ads from nasty advertisers.

      Once these technologies start denting revenue and page views those ads will dry up by themselves.

    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:47PM (#51441393) Journal

      That same green "play button" image is displayed millions of times per day, linking to the same URL. They only need to check it once to discover that it's bogus. Then Chrome can block it for all Chrome users who see that image linked to that URL.

      That does involve communicating something about the block list between Chrome and Google's blacklist server. Hopefully they get that part right. The right way will probably involve communicating a strong hash of the two URLs rather than the URLs themselves.

    • If they get complaints the can blacklist the abuser in the SBL, which causes warnings to show up in the browser when a site containing it is displayed.
    • Seeing as though Google already has filters to match up similar images, and plays with facial recognition etc, a few buttons shouldn't be that hard.

      Sure, the scummers can obfuscate their buttons, but the whole point is to make them look convincing enough like a legit download button that people mistakenly click it so there's only so much variation they can do.

  • Why does everything need a specific .exe installer? Couldn't they devise some kind of standard mechanism? Or at least, why don't they provide a linux version of the .exe?

    • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:14PM (#51441151) Homepage

      You're right. We need cross-platform compatibility for malware. Who's with me?

  • by blueshift_1 ( 3692407 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:04PM (#51441087)
    The biggest thing is to always look at the redirect address and see if it makes any sense. Usually the advertisements give themselves away. Though this doesn't really help the most naive of users. Who wants waste time when they could be downloading sw33t haxz.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google should probably start warning about their search engine, which presents search result hyperlinks, that by default point to a Google webserver, that redirects you to the target.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I've noticed that. It doesn't do it all the time but when it does it's a serious PITA.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        There are a variety of GreaseMonkey scripts to take care of that. You'll want one to disable Google's redirection.

  • Download.com (Score:5, Informative)

    by Not-a-Neg ( 743469 ) * on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:15PM (#51441157)

    They can start with Cnet's Download.com, nothing but ad banners with identical looking green "download" buttons.

    • Cnet's Download.com didn't start off that way. "Back in the day" it could be a great "go-to" for software downloads. But they have or are cutting their own throats, it's hard to imagine anyone downloading anything from these clowns today. Let alone actually read any of the "articles" they publish, I mean seriously, who reads that shit?

      • I stupidly kept using their site for years after they started doing that. I didn't really quit using it until they started posting "Visit Site" buttons instead of download links. I can't unwaste my time after doing a quick search only to be redirected to a slower download method. And the whole point of visiting download.com was to avoid the hassles of the original site.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        A while back, it was an excellent source for software... the closest thing Windows ever got to a repository. However when they started bundling foistware [1] with other people's downloads, they changed to yet another site that is not worth visiting.

        [1]: Software that adds browser add-ons and toolbars, then adds a loopback VPN and a trusted root CA into Firefox's keystore is not exactly trustworthy.

    • by Toad-san ( 64810 )

      And the damned proprietary executable they require you to download and install, just to then download the program or file you actually want.

      I don't go to download.com, a pox on them and all their houses.

  • These things are annoying.
    • Such as the ones at the beginning of DVD/Blurays?

      • I was referring to the annoying ones that try to block being closed and ask for money to pay a fine but if google can save me the trouble of having to remove the DVD/Bluray ones myself that would be nice too.
  • "Google says it will go to war against the fake 'download' and 'play' buttons that attempt to deceive users on file-sharing and other popular sites."
  • "You have attempted to use Google on a known spyware system. Your machine will now reboot."

    put it into ad services, too.

    thanks.

    • Microsoft already reboots my computer enough without my permission. I don't want Google doing it too.

  • Why don't you start with your own mobile advertising platform?
  • Nope, never going to see ads from ANY ad network. If a web site wants to show me ads, they can do it from their own domain.
    • Re:Nope (Score:5, Interesting)

      by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:48PM (#51441401)
      This is probably the reason why Google is doing this. They realize that more and more people are using ad blockers because of fake download buttons and malware serving ads. As an ad provider themselves, Google is doing this to help their bottom line. It will also help the bottom line of other advertisers, and also help to bring a little bit of trust back to the advertisers.
      • by Myen ( 734499 )

        But they're not blocking those advertisers from their advertising network; they blocking it from the browser end. Yes, that means Chrome can block a web site for not manually filtering ads being provided by Google.

  • This should be quite a bloodbath; but the satisfying kind of bloodbath, where the guilty are cut down in swaths.
  • blocking the fake "submitted by timothy" links on Slashdot

    Oh wait...there'd just be a blank page left. NM.

  • I feel like Google deserves a big ol' Apple-style "Finally" dropped in this headline, tho
  • by GSMacLean ( 1333075 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:58PM (#51441479)
    I run a site that offers downloads of files. I have advertising on that site. A large number of those ads, obviously context-sensitive, display fake "Download" buttons on them.

    Guess who is my ad provider? Google AdSense.

    Google, heal thyself.
  • Something that should have been done years ago:
    • Grab a 1st version of the page with the usual google user-agent
    • Grab the same page with an innocuous and most common user-agent
    • Render that 2nd page in common browser engines (MSIE, Firefox...), including images
    • Screen-grab it
    • OCR the result (including the images in case there's text on them)
    • Compare the OCRed text with the original
    • If there's too much difference, lower the pagerank

    This would solve problems of white-on-white text, text in images, pages diffe

  • by Anonymous Coward

    half the fucking internet delisted from google.... because THEIR OWN FUCKING ADS are a primary source of this fake download bullshit... not only on sites using their ad networks, but also GOOGLES OWN RESULT PAGES have ads with misleading bogus malware infested download pages.

    google... clean up your own fucking house before you try to clean up the rest of the internet.

  • Every time I try to use YouTube or Google Drive through the latest and greatest Pale Moon, I am greeted with a page (or a ribbon in the case of Drive) telling me my browser is no longer supported and that I need to use the latest version. Umm, this is the latest version. When I choose to go through anyhow, everything works just fine.

    They could afford to start a bit closer to home.

  • Can they get Microsoft to stop trying to trick me into downloading Windows 10?

    So far, I've run the programs to strip those notifications and updates from my system, but Microsoft keeps getting trickier.

  • banners showing next/previous navigation buttons. Been caught by these too.

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