Website owners are in danger of having their accounts with Google AdSense suspended granted they refuse to give into bitcoin ransom demands.
Google Needs to Be On the Lookout
The entire process is the result of a new scam. Hackers attempt to drive large amounts of traffic to banner ads listed by a specific company or enterprise. Once a visitor is there, the hackers trigger Google’s anti-fraud protection tactics by making it look like the traffic is being manipulated or that the companies are attempting to garner bigger SEO (search engine optimization) numbers by over-clicking on their own advertisements.
By inflating the traffic numbers, the company looks like it’s up to no good, thereby prompting Google to take quick action, which usually results in certain ads or general websites for the company being taken down or banned. However, the hackers quickly release a message to the victimized company asking that they pay a $5,000 BTC ransom as a means of getting their materials unlocked.
It’s a shameful way of garnering a quick digital buck. Companies that have done nothing wrong are inherently punished because Google is unable to perform the necessary checks and see if it’s truly the venture’s doing.
This has been a long-running behavior of the search engine company, which in the past, has not been very kind to crypto-based platforms and information sites. One of the biggest stories involving Google treating crypto unfairly involves the video-streaming website YouTube, which was purchased by Google in the year 2006.
From one day to the next, several cryptocurrency-based channels and videos were quickly taken down by YouTube for allegedly violating company rules. Many of these channels were “small timers,” meaning that there wasn’t much content in comparison to the crypto pages of hardcore news sites like CNBC. These remained strangely unaffected during YouTube’s crypto tirade, but several others were removed from existence.
A few days later, both Google and YouTube issued apologies for taking down the channels, saying that this was done due to an error in coding. Both companies later vowed to put the channels back online, though at press time, it’s unclear if this has occurred.
Google has also removed several crypto-based applications from its Google Play store such as Ethereum’s Meta Mask and Bitcoin Blast, both of which it said violated its rules and regulations. However, both items were quickly restored without any explanations given.
So Many Similar Cases
In the case involving the Google AdSense accounts, companies are warned to remain on the lookout for any “suspicious clicks.” Granted they occur, they are being warned to notify Google immediately so that they can avoid having their accounts suspended or taken down and ensure they remain online without being manipulated further.
Google announced six months ago that it would work harder to uncover “invalid traffic” in the future.