Beware: Google Alerts may be sending links that lead to malware and other frauds

Google Alerts has always been a useful feature that sends the user's emails or an updated RSS feed when new pages are available in search results for the specific keywords the user may be following.

Unfortunately, some ‘bad actors’ are taking advantage of the feature and trying to lure the users of Google Alerts towards scam and malware.

According to Bleepingcomputer, several hackers have been found to be injecting malicious sites into the Google search index in order to have them also appear in Google Alerts results that are sent to users. When the user clicks on any such alerts, they are redirected to a series of pages that offer fake giveaways, scams, extensions, and malware.

To enable the malicious links, the bad actors create spam pages with keywords that are most popular in the Google search index. For example – tech, security, and ransomware are just some famous keywords that users submit to Google Alerts for news updates. They are also using names of famous celebrities, movies, holiday destinations, and clothes for their spam pages and enticing them with free movie passes, coupons, and even free holiday tickets. The primary aim of the bad actors is to affect as many Google users as possible through keywords that are most often used in search engines.

How to protect yourself from spam?

One of the best ways to protect yourself and the device from spammy links is to request only the ‘best results’ from Google Alerts. The option can be accessed from the alert tab at the top of the Google Alerts page. This will remove all the illegitimate blogs from search results and show only high-authority websites in the results.




Read next: How to use Google alerts to help SEO

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