Google Alerts Spreading Malware: What You Need to Know

January 2022

Google Alerts can be a convenient way to receive notifications on your phone any time new content is posted about something you’re interested in. Unfortunately, within the past year, hackers have begun using fraudulent Google Alerts to deliver malware to unsuspecting web users. By understanding how these malware attacks are being carried out and avoiding falling victim, you can keep your important information safe.

Google Alerts and Malware: What Happened?

In 2020, fraudsters began using black search engine optimization (SEO) and Google Sites to create fake Google Alerts notifications. Specifically, these hackers create fake websites, usually for things like contests, giveaways, and other types of spoofed content from popular sources. From there, scammers use black-hat SEO strategies to help these sites capture the attention of Google’s search algorithms. Google Alerts will pick up these sites as legitimate sources, not realizing the links lead to malware, and send out alerts to unsuspecting people.

Once the user opens the alerts, they’re taken to a link plagued with malware. This malware can then result in a significant data breach and other major security problems.

How to Protect Yourself

Even though this Google Alerts scam began a year ago, hackers are still finding ways to lure in new victims. If you rely on Google Alerts for news about things you care about, you may be wondering what you can do to avoid falling for one of these scams. The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take.

For starters, use your common sense. If you receive a Google Alert that seems to deviate from your usual interests or for some kind of “giveaway” that looks too good to be true, you’re probably being targeted for a malware scam. Avoid clicking on these links, whether they show up on your phone, your computer, or another mobile device.

You can also protect yourself by making sure your devices are equipped with the latest antivirus software. This way, sites you visit will be scanned by your antivirus program before you arrive — and you can be alerted if a site comes back with malware or other security risks.

The Importance of a Dedicated Server for Security

In addition to taking proactive measures against common web scams with these cybersecurity tips, you should make sure you have the right hosting plan to protect your site and its most sensitive information. Specifically, a dedicated server can provide you with the highest level of security and protection against common security threats ranging from malware schemes to DDoS attacks

At ReliableSite, we offer dedicated servers and other cybersecurity solutions to protect your website and give your visitors added peace of mind. Ready to make the switch to a dedicated hosting plan? Contact us today, and we’d be happy to help you select the dedicated server that’s right for you. We can also answer any questions about our reliable hosting options and cybersecurity solutions, such as DDoS protection and data backups!