Google SGE recommends malware, fraud sites

Occurred: March 2024

Google's AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE) is reportedly recommending malicious websites, including ones containing malware and scams.

SEO consultant Lily Ray noticed that SGE was suggesting potentially harmful sites as part of its conversational responses, making it easier for users to fall for scams.

These sites often use the same .online domain, HTML templates, and perform redirects, indicating they are part of an SEO poisoning campaign. Clicking on these links leads users through a series of redirects until they reach a scam site comprising fake captchas, deceptive YouTube pages and fake giveaways.

Google claims to continuously update its systems and algorithms to combat spam. However, the presence of low-quality and potentially harmful sites in Google’s search results raises questions about the efficacy of the company’s spam-fighting measures and increases the potential for fraud. 

It is also seen to bring into question the reliability of AI-generated content in general.

Operator: Alphabet/Google
Developer: Alphabet/Google
Country: Global
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Generate search results
Technology: Machine learning
Issue: Safety; Security
Transparency: Governance