If You Search Google for "iTunes" the Top Link Is a Malware Factory

Here is a fun/terrible thing! If you search for "iTunes" in Google, the top sponsored result is something called itunes.download-new.com (don't go there), which is nothing but a festering rat king of malware.

As discovered by Whitenoise contributor djublonskopf, this clever and evil ad placement is probably why your relatives' new laptops are suddenly under attack by scores of pop-up ads and other vile, computer-crippling software. Similar searches for popular downloads like Photoshop, Microsoft Word, SimCity, and Winamp (!) showed no similar trickery.

In the interests of parity, a Bing search for "iTunes" first showed no trickery, then showed much trickery:


Just so we're perfectly clear, Google's algorithm isn't pushing these gross jerks to the top; the gross jerks are buying their way up (although Google should still probably maybe try to stop that sort of thing from happening?). And if you use AdBlock, you'll never see them. But consider this fair warning that you should probably not trust random downloads, Google ads, Bing, the internet in general, your computer, the NSA, or anyone/anything ever at any time.

Also, frankly, serves you right for using iTunes in the first place.

This is why my coworkers keep getting malware lately

When setting up a new computer, it's fairly common to download and install iTunes, right? That's a common thing? But if a user types "itunes" into a Google search, THIS is what they see. (I've temporarily disabled my AdBlock to capture this screenshot.)

At least three of my non-computer-savvy coworkers clicked on this exact Google ad this week, which sent them to this fun little site:

All three of them clicked "Download Free", without reading the tiny disclaimer below:

Clicking download starts a download manager to manage the iTunes download. Additional software may be offered to you via opt-in or opt-out ads during the installation process.

This "additional software" was apparently a cornucopia of self-replicating malware: Registry cleaners, "virus scanners", in-browser pop-up ads, etc, etc.