Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Surfers click on the darndest things

by Paul Jay, CBC news online

Last month Google was forced to cancel paid advertisements after it was discovered phishers were using them to redirect users to sites containing malicious software.

The ads were paid for using Adwords, Google's service that lets advertisers pay to have keywords attached to their name and appear on the right-hand side of Google's search page as "Featured Advertisers."

Curious to understand the mind of the internet surfer, Finnish computer specialist Didier Stevens placed his own ad through adwords. And unlike spammers, Stevens didn't hide his intent: The ad said "Is Your PC virus-free? Get it infected here!"

Amazingly, 409 people did.

Luckily for them, Stevens' site (entitled the less-than-subtle drive-by-download.info) didn't actually have any infections waiting. But his experiment over a six-month period demonstrates how easy it is for malicious sites to attract visitors. He breaks down the numbers in his his blog:

During this period, my ad was displayed 259,723 times and clicked on 409 times. That’s a click-through-rate of 0.16%. My Google Adwords campaign cost me only €17 ($23 U.S.). That’s €0.04 ($0.06) per click or per potentially compromised machine. 98% of the machines ran Windows (according to the User Agent string).

As some readers to his blog pointed out, the computer users likely saw the words "virus-free" and "PC" and didn't bother to read the whole sentence.

Perhaps they should start doing that.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments

Carolyn

This made me chuckle quite a bit. Awesome study.

Posted July 12, 2007 12:44 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

How Europe's heroin capital solved its overdose crisis
A decade ago, Portugal had a heroin problem. It decided to deal with it by decriminalizing drug use and focusing on harm reduction and treatment. A CBC News special report looks at what lessons the country’s experiment holds for Canada’s own opioid crisis.
Aviation officer gives his version of United flight passenger removal video
The physician dragged off a United Airlines flight in Chicago this month was verbally and physically abusive, and flailing his arms before he lost his balance and struck his mouth on an armrest, according to the aviation officer who pulled the man out of his seat.
Trump signals Mexico wall funding may wait several months for more pressing concerns video
U.S. President Donald Trump indicated an openness on Monday to delaying his push to secure funds for his promised border wall with Mexico, potentially eliminating a sticking point as lawmakers worked to avoid a looming shutdown of the federal government.
more »

Canada »

CBC Investigates 'I want someone to take my pain': Woman set on fire by husband denied home insurance payout video
Wendy Soczek won her fight for survival after her husband intentionally set her on fire back in 2010. But earlier this month, she lost her legal fight for a payout from her insurance company to fix her home.
'We felt like screaming': Wife says crowded hospital failed her dying husband
A Halifax woman says overcrowding at the city's largest hospital left her husband suffering a series of indignities and delayed care during his last days of life.
New Wild bison calves born in Banff National Park 'a huge step' to reintroduction video
Bison recently introduced into Banff's backcountry are settling into their new homes by welcoming new offspring to the herd.
more »

Politics »

Wilbur Ross says Canada is 'dumping lumber,' as Ottawa vows to push back video
The U.S. commerce secretary says the White House wanted to get the softwood lumber dispute with Canada out of the way before NAFTA renegotiations began, appearing to blame Canada for not resolving the issue before countervailing duties of up to 24 per cent hit Canadian imports.
New Liberals repeal Conservative immigrant residency requirement targeting marriage fraud
The Liberal government is repealing a measure brought in by the Conservatives to revoke permanent residency, and possibly deport, immigrants who don't continue to live with their sponsoring spouses for two years.
Defence lawyers urge Supreme Court not to waver on steps to tackle justice system delays
Defence lawyers urged Supreme Court of Canada justices today not to tinker with their controversial ruling that imposed strict timeframes to ensure an accused criminal's right to a speedy trial.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Scott Baio explains 'if you do drugs or drink, you're going to die' remarks after Erin Moran's death
Scott Baio says he was responding to media reports when he suggested the death of his former Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi co-star, Erin Moran, may have been due to substance abuse problems.
Updated Bachelor star Chris Soules jailed after deadly Iowa crash
Chris Soules, an Iowa farmer who starred on The Bachelor two years ago, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of causing a deadly accident and leaving the scene.
Come From Away scores outstanding new Broadway musical nod from Outer Critics Circle
There's another reason to celebrate the knockout Canadian musical Come From Away — the Broadway show just scored seven nominations for the prestigious Outer Critics Circle awards.
more »

Technology & Science »

Facebook facing criticism after Thai man murders daughter live
A Thai man filmed himself killing his 11-month-old daughter in two video clips posted on Facebook before committing suicide, police said on Tuesday.
Q&A Say what? How a Canadian company can clone your voice
Computer voices are about to get a lot more convincing. A new Canadian startup says it can clone your voice and make you say anything.
Fiat Chrysler expands Google self-driving car fleet to 500
​Fiat Chrysler and Google for the first time will offer rides to the public in the self-driving vehicles they are building under an expanding partnership, with Google expanding its fleet to 500 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans.
more »

Money »

Trump plans to slash U.S. corporate tax rate to 15%
President Donald Trump plans to stick with his campaign pledge to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 15 per cent, but the dramatic cut raises a problematic question for the White House: How can he deliver the "massive" tax cut he promised without blowing the budget?
Billy Bee and Doyon honey sold in Canada to be made in Canada, too
The company that owns the Billy Bee and Doyon honey brands says it will start using only Canadian honey for both products in Canada this year.
Rent control measures could lead some Ontario condo investors to sell: report
New rent control measures unveiled last week by the Ontario government could push some small investors out of the condominium market, according to a new report.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Canucks to name Travis Green new head coach Wednesday: reports
​The 19th head coach in Vancouver Canucks' history will be announced Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET, with Travis Green widely reported as the successor to Willie Desjardins.
McDavid prepares to go head-to-head with Ducks agitator Kesler video
What is Connor McDavid's reward for helping the Oilers dispose of San Jose in his first-ever Stanley Cup playoff series? Another dose of NHL irritant Ryan Kesler and the big and heavy Anaheim Ducks in Round 2, starting Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Preview NHL playoffs: How the Canadian teams stack up in Round 2
It appears it's anyone's Stanley Cup to win after a wide-open start to the NHL playoffs. Here's how the two remaining Canadian teams, Edmonton and Ottawa, match up with their Round 2 foes.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »