A new extortion scam aimed at website owners who display banner ads through the Google AdSense program has started spreading the internet. The malicious scheme requires Bitcoin (BTC) in exchange for preventing an attack, which would result in suspension of the user’s AdSense account.
The email-based extortion scheme was reported on February February by security news and research blog KrebsOnSecurity. 17. The blog post mentioned that some site owners received a message because their site had been seen by the malicious program as someone who wanted to generate income by publishing an advertisement. The message would apparently read:
“The warning above will no doubt appear on the dashboard of your AdSense account soon! This will happen because we are about to flood your site with a huge amount of instantly bot generated web traffic with a 100% bounce ratio and thousands of IPs in rotation – a nightmare for any AdSense publisher. Moreover, we will adjust our advanced bots to open every AdSense banner running on your site in an endless cycle with different duration. “
The message appears as a warning, for example that cyber criminals are demanding $ 5,000 from BTC to deter the attack.
The user who shared the message with KrebsOnSecurity said their recent AdSense traffic statistics had detected a significantly increased invalid traffic. Google apparently called the scam a classic threat sabotage, where a fraudster tries to trigger a enforcement action against a publisher by sending invalid traffic to his inventory.
The news came from Google’s new policy regarding its ads, according to the AdSense team that it will stop displaying ads before invalid clicks. “This year we are improving our defenses even more by improving the systems that identify potentially invalid traffic or risky activities before advertisements are displayed. With these defenses, we can limit the ad delivery to further protect our advertisers and users, “Google explained.
Previously, Google chose a hard line for decentralization and cryptocurrency. The most prominent example of Google’s hostility occurred in June 2018, when the company announced it would ban all crypto-related advertisements in accordance with an update of its financial services policy.
Most recently, Google keywords were blacklisted with mention of Ethereum (ETH) on its advertising platform, Google Ads. Google confirmed that “Ethereum” was blacklisted as a keyword “regardless of the nature of the promoted service”.
The leading cryptocurrency has become popular among criminals around the world. Earlier in February, two letter bombs exploded in the Netherlands and an anonymous criminal asked for a Bitcoin payment to prevent future attacks.
In Thailand, Singapore’s Mark Cheng was abducted and tortured for a ransom of $ 740,000 in BTC. After transferring all his available funds of $ 46,000, he is said to have made a daring escape when his captors prepared to kill him.