Earlier today, Trend Micro Advanced Threats Researcher Paul Ferguson discovered these fake “sponsored” banner ads that were showing up in certain Google searches:
Apparently, these ads point to the domain name TRENDMICRO2008.COM, a fraudulent Web site that is posing as a legitimate Trend Micro Web site (note that the legitimate domain name of Trend Micro is TRENDMICRO.COM).
According to a Google representative, the fraudulent ad was removed last night. “Luckily, Google Checkout halts any transactions for these fraudulent purchases,” noted Ferguson while analyzing the fake ad.
Since early last year, cyber criminals have been investing on pay-per-click ads in Google to spread their malicious code on the Web. They take advantage of the fact that users treat sponsored results as safe because the latter think that it’s a legitimate business advertising them. They also realize that paying to advertise their malicious or fraudulent Web sites in trusted search engines, as in this particular case, is quite an effective way to trick users into clicking the malicious links. Adding Trend Micro to the equation just makes their social engineering ploy even more convincing.
Users seeking to purchase Trend Micro Internet Security 2008, or any other Trend Micro products, are advised to visit the one and only official Web site of Trend Micro, i.e. http://www.trendmicro.com.