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Google Gives Users The Finger One More Time

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The Internet is one kickass place – survey after survey continue to show that cybercriminals are picking off unaware/undereducated users, as if they were shooting fish in a barrel. And Google, the “Do No Evil” company has just made it easier for the bad guys to take aim at you, and me. Read on.

As I reported in March of last year – Search Engine Results – More Malware Surprises Than Ever!

Cyber criminals have bumped up the level of search engine malware.

One in five search topics lead to malware…………

Google search results produced 38 percent of overall search engine malware.

Luckily, those users in the know – were aware that steps could be taken to mitigate the risk of an infection transmitted through a bad search engine result. The tool of choice – one I have long recommended to regular readers here – has been WOT (Web of Trust).

WOT, one of the most downloaded Firefox Add-ons at the Mozilla add-on site, (also compatible with Internet Explorer and Chrome), is a free Internet Browser resource which  investigates web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams – helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

For example, here’s a Google search in which WOT indicates which sites are safe. Notice the unsafe (red) sites, in the Google ads!

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You can now scratch the reputation icon associated with the Google ads shown in the previous screen capture. Here’s the bad news. Google has reversed course, and no longer (as of April 13) allows a reputation assessment icon (in other words – a SAFETY assessment icon), to be displayed on Google sponsored ads.

According to WOT – “Due to Google’s policy change, WOT and some other similar tools can no longer show reputations for sponsored links on Google’s search results, or elsewhere on Google ads.”

In the following screen capture (taken today), you’ll notice WOT’s reputation icon (the green circle), attached to generic search results. You’ll also notice, on the TigerDirect (a Google ad), a reputation assessment is no longer available.

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In my view, Google can take its “Do No Evil” motto, and “shove it where the sun don’t shine”. No matter the reasoning behind this move – the net result is, Internet surfers are at more risk than they were last week. Tell me that’s not EVIL!

A big “thank you” to regular reader Michael F. for the heads up.

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Filed under Browser add-ons, Google, Internet Safety Tools, Software, WOT (Web of Trust)