Phishing sites are being advertised again through Google Ads


Analysts at Scam Sniffer reported that phishing sites masquerading as legitimate sites are once again being promoted through Google Ads. According to the data provided, more than 3,000 people are believed to have been taken advantage of and lost at least $4 million in fraudulent activity. The stolen cryptocurrency was laundered through the Binance.US and KuCoin exchanges, Tornado Cash mixer and SimpleSwap exchanger.

The phishing sites were SEO-optimised to increase the likelihood that the user would click on them. Zapper, Lido Finance, Stargate and DefiLlama projects were mentioned as fraud targets, but it is not known if they are the only ones affected.

In order for the fraudsters' plan to work, they tampered with the source code of their phishing sites so that it would look different when viewed by Google Ads moderators and the victims who clicked on them. Reportedly, $15,000 was spent on Google Ads in an attempt to reach 7,500 victims.

When visiting a website, malicious scripts that attempt to connect with browser extensions, such as MetaMask, and assign digital currencies can be detected. Scam Sniffer has observed that numerous extensions are still unable to protect against such connections, and so they urge investors to be careful when connecting a wallet to a web page.

Google Ads have been the nucleus of many frauds in the past. In 2021, experts at research firm CheckPoint discovered that fraudsters were taking private keys under the guise of advertising crypto wallets in Google Ads.

Moreover, in 2020, three phishing initiatives acting under the guise of Uniswap, a blockchain-based cryptocurrency exchange protocol - advertised in Google Ads - were detected. Later, an imitation of this marketplace was noticed in the Google Play mobile app shop as well.

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