So what happens if you don’t want to use Windows’ default browser, Microsoft Edge? Many people want to download Google Chrome, as they prefer it. However, using Bing to search for it can inflict you with malware and adware when downloading Chrome.
Downloading Chrome with Bing
You’re not alone in preferring to use the Google Chrome browser over Microsoft Edge. Many people prefer Chrome. And for most, it means doing a quick search for the download link, assuming they don’t have it memorized. That sounds simple enough, right?
Sure, it may be simple, but the problem comes in when you choose to do your Internet search in Bing. If you type in “download Chrome,” the first link that shows up in the search list downloads more than you bargained for.
Forbes reports that when Gabriel Landau searched for “download chrome” right after purchasing a Windows 10 laptop, that he clicked on the first link, not noticing that the Google link was for “GoogleOnline2018.com,” a bogus site that fooled him into thinking it was the Google Chrome landing page.
The download was called “ChromeSetup.exe,” which seems innocuous enough, but the digital signature showed that it was really from “Alpha Criteria Ltd.” Ultimately, Landau wasn’t fooled, but assumably many others are.
The Trouble with Bing
But Firefox and Google aren’t willing to share the same deceptive sites that Bing is. Firefox shows a warning that reads, “Deceptive Site ahead” when the fake URL is entered. It includes details as well as an option to exit.
This bogus Google Chrome ad is in a rotation that shows up every few page refreshes. The writer of the Forbes article suggests it may be targeting people geographically, as he wasn’t able to reproduce it on a new Windows 10 install.
Nevertheless, with Landau’s mention of the bogus site on Twitter going viral, and the Forbes journalist reporting it, the bogus site was removed, with the Bing Ads Twitter account notifying Landau that “protecting customers from malicious content is a top priority, and we have removed the ads from Bing and banned the associated account.”
However, it’s not a unique situation. A Bleeping Computer article from last April shows the exact same situation except with a different domain name, “NewChromeDownload.com.” A Reddit user had the same problem a few weeks back with a different domain name, and there was an additional situation about four months ago.
The question remains why Bing is allowing this to happen repeatedly. Additionally, it leads you to wonder if Google Chrome downloads are the only instance of bogus ads that are hiding adware and malware. Chances are it’s not.
It should serve as a warning to everyone to not use Bing, as they don’t seem to be as in control of this situation as Google, Firefox, or other browsers. In Laundau’s case of not intending to use Edge but just trying to download Chrome, just the knowledge that this situation is out there should be helpful. Be vigilant and examine every site carefully before clicking any download link.
Have you ever had a similar option with Edge and/or Bing? What type of workaround have you used? Let us know in the comments your experiences with bogus ads or specifically downloading Chrome on Microsoft Edge using Bing.
Image credit: Windows 10 Anniversary Update