The majority of people who have spent quite a lot of time online have been exposed to ads which try to deceive a site’s user by trying to mimic an actual site’s functionality such as a download button. This type of fake download button has been around since the early years of internet in the year of 2000s and although this may cause disadvantage to some users, this type of deceptive button is actually termed under a social engineering ad category. Social engineering ads do not only come in the form of a fake download button, but it also comes with a false warning which claims that your operating system is out of date or a fake warning which asks you to update for example your Flash Player.
Nevertheless, in keeping up with today’s internet developments, Google with its Safe Browsing initiative now also aims to protect Google users from social engineering attacks. Google’s Safe Browsing has claimed to protect over a billion Google users from traditional phishing attacks for more than eight years, adding up to the total number of tens of millions of people each week in different browsing platforms such as Apple Safari, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Google’s Safe Browsing technology looks at billions of links daily in search of websites that are unsafe. Google’s categories of unsafe websites include malware sites and phishing sites. Malware sites consist of codes which will install malicious software onto the user’s computers, whereas later it can be used to obtain user’s private information. On the other hand, a phishing site is a site which pretends to be legitimate but it really is about tricking the user for typing their username and password or any other private information, which can be misused later on.
Google’s attempt to fight against social engineering attacks include revealing deceptive strategies which may require users to install unwanted software or reveal personal information like passwords, phone numbers, and credit cards. Google does not only cover protections against social engineering ads, but it also had warned users about malware detection or a site certificate expiration, but the newest move on fighting against social engineering deceptions have been praised to be one of the most significant expansions of Google’s overall safe browsing initiative. Social engineering in itself is much broader than traditional phishing, where it consists of a larger number of variations with regards to deceptive web contents.
With regards to providing user protection against social engineering ads, Google claims that it will target two types of advertising content, namely contents that pretend to look, act or feel like a trusted entity (mimicking the device, browser, or website that you are currently looking at) as well as contents that strive to get you into doing something you would normally do for a trusted entity, such as sharing your password or calling tech support. When you visit a site which utilizes these tricks, Google will provide a huge red warning to remind the users as well as trying to discourage sites from being shady and deceitful to its users.