Google Cracks Down on Super-Annoying Fake "Play" and "Download" Buttons

Go ahead. Hit play.

William Iven

The risk is enough to stop me from watching bootlegged shows on the internet all together. Hit “play” and boom — suddenly you’ve downloaded like a million viruses, and some creeper halfway across the globe is using your laptop’s camera to watch you watch TV. Nope. Not having it.

Apparently, Google isn’t either. On Wednesday, Google’s Safe Browsing team announced that it’s cracking down on those super annoying, deceptive “play” and “download” buttons that ruin the internet for everyone. It’s about time.

For almost a decade, Google’s Safe Browsing team has been protecting citizens of the internet from ever-the-more-deceptive phishing attacks that trick us into doing something we didn’t mean to do. Wednesday’s announcement follows up on one last November that expanded Safe Browsing’s protection beyond phishing to something much more conniving — social engineering.

That’s the stuff that looks like, feels like and acts like something you know and trust before slapping you in the face and demanding you do something uncomfortable — like give up a password or credit card information, call tech support, or download something malicious. Jerks.

See? Social engineering can look super real. I'd probably click on that.

Google Online Security Safe Browsing Team

This new coverage will also protect you from embedded ads like the ones here that can look like a website, browser, or some real thing you’re supposed to keep up with. These ones are super slimy. Just when you think you’re being a responsible computer owner, taking care of updates — bop. Social engineering.

Perhaps you recognize this:

This social engineering ad plays with viewers emotions, making them think clicking "install" will keep their computer running smoothly, when they're really downloading unwanted software or something else unintended.

Google Online Security Social Engineering Team

Now, before coming across things like that, Google will warn you when you’re about to enter a deceptive site:

Now Google will warn you with a screen like this before you enter a site where you might see a socially engineered fake download or play buttons.

Google Online Security Safe Browsing Team

Now you can watch your illegal Broad City episodes in peace.

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