עודכן 21:07 20/08/2002
Hackers seem to be prolifing. At least with Google
Hacking Hotmail? Advertise in Google
Searching for an e-mail address with Google, displayed an advertisement for hacking services as sponsored link. Google's technology, that displays only relevant ads to the search terms, has proved itself to be too effecient
For a mere $100, one can obtain the password of any Hotmail or Yahoo-Mail account, promises Hotmail22.com. For maximum exposure, the anonymous site owner decided to advertise his service on Google, and his ad appears when one searches Google for an address in Hotmail. Responding to Nana's inquiry, Google admitted that ads are posted on its website prior to being manually checked. Google has also removed the ad from its site.
The ad was discovered by a Nana forum user when he was searching for a Hotmail address in Google's Israeli website. The ad appeared at the top of the page, under "Supporting Links" (Google Israel's equivalent of Sponsored Links"). It appears the site owner bought an ad with "hotmail" as one of the serach terms.
Searching for "hack hotmail" returned an ad for a "Hotmail Password Recorder", an application that records keystrokes, monitoring all actions done on a computer, and thus enabling obtaining passwords the user has entered.
Google does not endorse, but mishaps still happen
With Google's AdWords program, site owners can buy advertisements linked to their desired search terms (a hotel owner, for example, would want his ad to appear when surfers search for "vacation"). The advertisers set the maximal per-click fee they are willing to pay, and their locat ad's location on the search results page is determined by click rates, compared to toher ads, and the maximal fee they chose.
Does Google endorse hacking, and hacking email accounts in particular? Nana has contacted Google several times since Wednesday, and was only answered today. "Google does not endorse hacking and the ad which leads to www.hotmail22.com has been removed and blocked from our site. 'Hacking' is in violation of the terms of service for AdWords, [...] which explicitily prohibits advertising 'substances, services, products or materials that are illegal in any state or country where the ad is displayed'," says Google's PR Coordinator, Barry Schnitt.
However, Schnitt admits that ads are posted before they are manually checked, so such mishaps are inevitable: "AdWords ads are put through a number of automated checks before they are posted. We are aware that these processes do not filter all of the advertisments in violation of our terms of service and each ad is reviewed manually while it is running on Google. The www.hotmail22.com ad had not been yet been reviewed manually when you viewed it on www.google.co.il. However, the ad has now been removed and blocked from Google." A search for the email address of Hotmail22.com's owner today brought a link to a fourm, where he has advertised his service, but not the the website itself.
Concerning the Password Recorder, Schnitt says that "the other ads you mention are for services that an employer may use to monitor the email of employees, which is legal and therefore not in violation of our terms of service."
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