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FBI Advises Using Ad Blockers to Counter Cybercriminals Posing as Brands in Search Engine Ads

Scammers capitalise on the holiday season to make money, but the FBI has weighed in to warn people to use ad blockers.

In a recent PSA, the agency warned that fraudulent advertisements, which can appear at the top of search results and are difficult to tell apart from the results themselves, can successfully impersonate well-known brands.

The FBI warned that advertisements pretending to be from cryptocurrency exchanges could instal malware on your system, which could then be used to steal your personal information and funds.

Being Risk-Free

The agency also suggests being wary of links with misspelled URLs and entering the business’s address manually rather than using a search engine to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate site.

The FBI advised businesses to make use of domain protection services to be alerted when similar domain names are registered and to notify customers of any imposter websites.

Ad blocking software does exactly what its name implies: it blocks ads from being displayed in your web browser. The primary advantage is that annoying and slow-loading advertisements, like videos, are eliminated.

But they also block tracking mechanisms built into these ads, making it harder for companies like Google and Facebook to gather information about your online activities across devices.

Since big tech seems to be trying to nullify their use without upsetting the large user base of such extensions, the agency’s announcement is unlikely to please them.

Some popular ad blockers, such as uBlock Origin, have recently voiced concern that future Chrome API changes will render their extensions inoperable. Microsoft Edge and Opera are two examples of browsers that are based on chromium.

The summer also saw Google confirm the removal of VPN apps from the Play store, which blocked ads on Android devices.