Google continues to promote crypto-phishing sites, Binance boss warns

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Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has warned that Google search results continue to promote phishing and crypto scam websites.

Despite Google’s strict crypto marketing policies for its advertising service, scammers have still slipped through the cracks over the past few years. Sometimes scam websites have even been shown higher than legitimate crypto and blockchain projects.

In an October 27 tweet, CZ warned that when searching CoinMarketCap on Google, phishing sites with an “ad” tag appeared in front of the actual website.

“This affects users who add smart contract addresses to MetaMask using these phishing sites. We are trying to contact Google about this, and in the meantime alert users to this via social media,” he said.

CoinMarketCap is one of the most commonly used crypto data aggregators on the market and was acquired by Binance for an undisclosed amount in April 2020. Given its popularity, a lot of traffic could be directed to these fraudulent advertisements.

In some cases, phishing websites can be difficult to spot, as they typically use copy URLs to trick unwary people into clicking. For example, one of the websites highlighted by CZ was spelled “coinomarketcaap”.

In April this year, blockchain security firm SlowMist discovered a Terra-related phishing scam in which bad actors used Google Ads to run copycat websites using the Achor protocol and Astroport brand.

According to SlowMist, the promoted websites ranked ahead of the actual sites people searched for and then fetched approximately $4.31 million from Luna Classic (LUC) from 52 addresses between April 12 and April 21.

Related: Sneaky fake Google Translate app installs crypto-miner on 112,000 PCs

In November 2021, the research arm of cybersecurity firm CheckPoint also published a report warning that around $500,000 had been stolen by scammers who used Google Ads to promote phishing sites that imitated crypto wallet providers MetaMask. and Phantom.

Google’s ad service sparked strong interest this week after parent company Alphabet pointed out in its third-quarter earnings call that search advertising spending by financial and crypto companies was down quarter-on-quarter. ‘other.

“We saw declines in some advertisers’ spend in certain areas of search ads. For example, in financial services, we saw declines in the insurance, lending, mortgage, and crypto subcategories. said Philipp Schindler, chief commercial officer of Google.However, the company appears to have no qualms about accepting ad payments from scammers.

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