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Scammers May Be Abusing Google 'DRM' Takedowns To Promote Malicious Sites

Posted by: , 07:10 AEDT, Sat December 1, 2018

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Scammers have been removing piracy URLs to allow malicious links to rise in Google's search results
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Image/Photo Credit: Dennis Skley @ Flickr, CC

Scammers may have found a way to use Google's anti-piracy measures to promote malicious sites.

As first reported by TorrentFreak, several piracy download sites have been targeted with potentially "bogus" take-down notices, and site operators suspect that it may be an attempt to promote malicious sites.

While the take-down notices do target pirated downloads, the notices themselves appear to be fake, adorned with spelling mistakes and apparently coming from IP addresses that are unlikely to be associated with the rights-holders in question.

Many of the take-down notices have also been sent from suspicious Gmail email addresses with Ukrainian IP-addresses. 

Worst of all, these clearly suspicious take-down notices cannot be countered using the normal means provided by Google, as these are "DRM" based take-down notices, not merely "copyright abuse" notices. Google do not provide a way to appeal DRM based take-down notices as it is not required by law, and so, the affected sites have no way to fight back against the bogus take-down attempts.

Many of the removed URLs, while containing pirated copies of games, may not actually contain any DRM tools.

There is no clear indication as to why scammers are using this to remove piracy related URLs, but the removals of some of these URLs in Google's search engine has coincided with the rise in rankings of "fake" piracy sites designed to infect users with malicious software. This may be the main intention behind the scammer's campaign, which has already lasted several months.

And it appears Google may be wising up to the scam. Some of the take-down notices have already been flagged by Google as, with a warning that these notices may have been sent by "impostors".

[via TorrentFreak]


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