Rogue Advertising

by Erin on August 25th, 2008 in Industry and Security News, Security Tips.

As readers of the Lavasoft blog know, we often come across products and websites that try to piggyback on the name of our company or our flagship product, Ad-Aware, to take advantage of you.  And whenever we do, we make it a priority to get the word out to prevent users from getting scammed.

We've been alerted to a deceptive advertising method that you should be on the lookout for.

"Sponsored links" via Google ads are being used to trick users into downloading or buying "gray zone applications", or products which do not have clear malicious behavior but are of questionable value to the user. How's it done? In this case, the products are being advertised on legitimate download pages for our product, Ad-Aware 2008, on ZDNet.

Some of the products being peddled on the sites listed under sponsored links have names similar to our software in order to deceive users. For example, Noadware 2009, which was considered a rogue application at one time, does perform a scan of the users hard drive but detects threats based on a fixed list of file names, which may cause false positives.

Others, such as SpywareStop, are simply known as rogue or suspect applications.

This has been reported to ZDNet, but in the meantime, be especially cautious whenever you download or buy security software. To make matters worse, new rogue security products, and knockoffs of already existing ones, are popping up all over the Web. Stick to products with proven track records and pay special attention to the name of the product and site you're using to be sure you get the software you intended.