5% of Google Site Visitors Have An Ad Injector Installed

Google wants to rid ad-injecting extensions from its Chrome browser after finding that nearly 200 exposed millions of users to deceptive practices or malicious software.

More than 5% of Google site visitors have at least one ad injector installed. Of those, half have at least two injectors installed, and nearly one-third have at least four installed, per a study Google conducted with researchers at University of California Berkeley.

The findings are drawn from more than 100 million page views of Google sites worldwide across Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer on various operating systems, and found ad injectors on all operating systems, from Mac to Windows, and Web browsers Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Ad injectors are programs that insert new ads, or replace existing ones, into the pages site visitors read. The Mountain View, Calif. company received more than 100,000 complaints from Chrome users about ad injection since January 2015. The number adds up to more than network errors, performance problems, or any other issue. 



Researchers also classified 34% of Chrome extensions injecting ads as malware. The research found 192 deceptive Chrome extensions that affected 14 million users, which were since disabled. Google now incorporates the techniques researchers used to catch these extensions to scan all new and updated extensions. The company will release additional research on May 1, examining the ad injector ecosystem in depth to increase awareness about and scale of the issue.

3 comments about "5% of Google Site Visitors Have An Ad Injector Installed".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, April 1, 2015 at 5:25 p.m.

    I hope this is a April's Fool's joke? LOL I told Google about their ads were being hacked in Las Vegas by a third party company working with one of the major hotel brands in January 2012. Google didn't do nothing about it then. Interesting that this is a issue now isn't it?

  2. meghan gifford from asu, April 2, 2015 at 1 a.m.

    I think this a major issue, especially if you consider how harmful this can be to the individuals using Google. Advertisements are supposed to be safe and harmless, giving information to people using a service. If Google's advertisements are being hacked, who knows what these advertisements can link to. This is a major problem Google needs to solve, especially with all of the complaints coming in on a daily basis. Advertisements that include malware are very frightening and is something that needs to be taken care of ASAP.

  3. Brian Nakamoto from Tightrope Interactive, Inc., April 3, 2015 at 3:16 p.m.

    Google's advertisements are not being hacked in the sense that their servers have been compromised. Ad injectors typically work locally on individual users' PC's where the ads are injected into webpages *after* they are downloaded from websites.

    Here's the Google Security Blog post that likely prompted this MediaPost article – http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2015/03/out-with-unwanted-ad-injectors.html

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