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Google Ads promotes fake crypto site leading to phishing scam

Such activities are very dangerous for users, as they can lead to the theft of personal, financial or other confidential information.

Date: 2024-04-22 Author: Marek Stiller
Google Ads promotes fake crypto site leading to phishing scam

Google’s online advertising platform, Google Ads, is promoting malicious crypto sites, exposing users to a phishing scam.

According to a report by BleepingComputer, threat groups have used Google Ads to advertise a fake version of Whales Market, a cryptocurrency platform that facilitates the trading of Airdrop tokens.

The attacked version of the site appears as a sponsored ad at the top of Google search results , luring unsuspecting users into the trap.

Users redirected fake domains

Despite the initial appearance of the ad with an apparently valid domain address, users interacting with the ad are redirected to a fake domain instead of the authentic one [www.whales.market].

The report notes that the attackers have registered multiple domains aiming at Whales Market, at least one of which [www.whaless.market] is inactive.

The imitated clone of the Whales Market site replicates the interface of the legitimate version, tricking users into linking their digital wallets, which runs malicious scripts that siphon victims’ crypto assets from their wallets.

This incident adds to a growing list of similar incidents in which fraudsters use Google’s platform to promote fake services.

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Google takes action against cryptocurrency scammers

While the identity of the perpetrators of this latest phishing campaign remains unknown, Google is taking action against the scammers. Earlier this month, the company filed a lawsuit against two individuals from China, Yunfeng Sun and Hongnam Cheung, for using the Google Play store to trick people into fake cryptocurrency investments.

Although the lawsuit does not disclose the specific names of the suspected apps, Google revealed that it has deactivated 87 fake apps linked to Sun and Cheung over the past four years . The apps have collectively racked up nearly 100,000 downloads worldwide.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to use our resources to actually fight the bad actors who were running a widespread crypto scheme to defraud some of our users,” – Halimah DeLaine Prado, Google’s general counsel, said.

“In 2023 alone, we saw more than $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency fraud in the US, and this [lawsuit] allows us to not only use our resources to protect users, but also serve as a kind of precedent for future bad actors, which we will not.”

Google is seeking a permanent injunction against the defendants and is seeking damages in excess of $75,000, which includes expenses related to investigating the breach and ensuring the security and integrity of the platform.

Meanwhile, last month Google launched a feature that allows users to search wallet balances on the Bitcoin blockchain, Arbitrum, Avalanche, Optimism, Polygon and Phantom.

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Marek Stiller
Marek Stiller
Founder of the "Cryptocurrency for Beginners" channel on YouTube. He collaborates with Łukasz to form the Arena Trading group, while at the same time being passionate about blockchain technology. His knowledge and experience in the cryptocurrency industry help beginner investors better understand this dynamic market.
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