Google ‘malware’ sponsored advert delivers fake anti-virus

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“Be careful what you ask for – you might get it.”

That’s the thought running through my head today after I searched for the word “malware” on Google.

As you’ll see in the following short YouTube video I made, a sponsored link right at the top of the Google search results points to a fake anti-virus website posing as a legitimate security company:


If you download the fake anti-virus program promoted on the website you risk infection by malware identified by Sophos as Troj/FakeAV-AOV.

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We’ve informed Google about this latest example of malvertising, and hopefully it will be zapped from their database of sponsored links shortly.

However, this is far from the only malicious advert or dangerous search result out there – and it’s not just Google which can serve up these kind of poisonous links. Make sure you have your wits about you, and have kept your security software up-to-date.

Hat-tip: Thanks to Clu-blog reader Kimberly for bringing this malicious advert to my attention.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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