It’s not often that I search for the term Malwarebytes on Google. I know how to get to my own company’s website by typing it into the address bar. However, when a friend or family member asks me how to get to our website, I almost always instruct them to search.
Unfortunately, there exists a market where bad people benefit by preying on our users. They create websites which advertise that they distribute Malwarebytes and instead, download a product of their own onto our user’s machine. They advertise on Google and turn up in search results. I’d equate this to a cereal company packaging their generic, less delicious brand into a Cheerios box and putting it on shelves.
Search result exploiting the Malwarebytes brand
If you see a page like this, it is fraudulent and you should go directly to www.malwarebytes.org instead.
It makes me sick, and I refuse to let it go on. Today, I instructed our legal team to pursue all of these cheaters in hopes that we can wipe them from the face of the Internet.
But that’s not all. How far is too far? Should advertisers on Google be allowed to use company names as keywords? If I search for Cheerios, should the first advertisement be for the generic brand? It’s allowed, a common practice, and in my opinion completely unethical.
In August, the state of California created the nation’s largest e-crime unit, “a group of 20 investigators and prosecutors whose sole mission will be to thwart and prosecute cybercrimes like identity theft, Internet scams, computer theft, online child pornography and intellectual property theft across the state.” (source)
While this all sounds fantastic, I strongly doubt a team of 20 investigators can handle the amount of fraud, identity theft, and even such a broad category such as Internet scams which include malicious software. I wonder how closely this e-crime unit will work with reputable companies in the security industry to help find these criminals.
On Monday of this week, Malwarebytes sent out its first newsletter to our subscribed users. It was a huge milestone for us and it opened a new line of communication between our team and our customers. I was asked to provide an excerpt of advice for our customers shopping online this Holiday season and I thought I would share it with all of you.
As the Holidays near, we at Malwarebytes are thinking of the gift shoppers who will fall victim to credit card theft on the Internet. While online shopping is easier than waiting for hours in line, it can also be very dangerous. Here are a few steps to lower your risk. First, always shop from credible vendors such as Amazon, Newegg, and Overstock. Many malicious websites will advertise ultra-low prices in an attempt to steal your credit card information. Next, check your bank statements often. If your debit or credit card number is stolen online, you’ll notice any fraudulent charges early. Finally, and most importantly, use a disposable credit card for each online purchase. These single use credit cards are a perfect way to keep your bank account safe.
If you haven’t yet, sign up for our newsletter. We’re also giving away a free iPad 2 on our giveaway page.