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Google to Warn Searchers About Deceptive Download Buttons

Google to Warn Searchers About Deceptive Download Buttons

Too often clicking on a button marked “Download” does not trigger the download you intended to receive. These are deceptive ads disguised as actual downloads. Another ad unit which falls under that category is an image making false claims, like detecting a virus on your computer.

Google has announced it’s expanding its Safe Browsing protection to warn searchers agains deceptive download buttons, and other “social engineering” ads.

Similar to when you encounter and insecure site, or a site with malware, Google will block the entire site with a bright red screen warning that there’s a “deceptive site ahead” with a button to go “back to safety”.

Google lays out its criteria for what qualifies as a social engineering ad:

  • Pretends to act, or look and feel, like a trusted entity — like your own device or browser, or the website itself.
  • Tries to trick you into doing something you’d only do for a trusted entity — like sharing a password or calling tech support.

This comes shortly after Google announced its attacks against sites that prompt the download of unwanted software. If your site ends up being flagged for deceptive ads, or other types of social engineering content, you can resolve the issue through Search Console.

Featured Image Credit: serato /


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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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