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Google Bans Hacked Political Content Ahead of the US Elections, Implements New Google Ads Policy


The presidential elections in the US are near. Keeping this in mind, Google has announced a new policy that will ban ads that advertise hacked political content or propaganda. This new policy will come into effect from 1 September 2020, as per the news available on Google's support page. After the new rule is implemented, the third party players won't be able to purchase ad-space on Google ads, directly or indirectly linked to the hacked content of any political party.

However, ads related to news articles or other pages that contain hacked political material may be allowed. But the news article and the page shouldn't be linked to the political content in any way, says the policy. The violators of this new Google Ads policy (Ad Buyers) will first receive a warning to remove the ad from their account or face account suspension after seven days.


The policy is made observing the 2016 US Elections. 

The new Google Ads policy is made to avoid the 2016 US presidential elections scenario. As we all know, during the 2016 election campaigns in the US, the Russian hackers were able to break into the servers of various political factions associated with the Democratic Party. The breach resulted in data leaks of the Democratic party on WikiLeaks and DC leaks. The attack resulted in biased media coverage and online ads on various social media and platforms that discussed the hacked political content. Google will become the first company to make such a move when the policy is enacted on 1 September.

Twitter, in a similar incident, banned the distribution of hacked content on its platform in 2018 before the US midterm elections. It included not only political content but every other hacked material. It resulted in an unofficial ban of the ads on Twitter, as they need tweets to advertise. According to Google's policy, the following is not allowed: "Ads that directly facilitate or advertise access to hacked material related to political entities within the scope of Google's elections ads policies. This applies to all protected material obtained through the unauthorized intrusion or access of a computer, computer network, or personal electronic device, even if distributed by a third party."

Popular Android App being Tampered by Hackers to Disseminate Malware


In an attempt to disseminate Triout Android malware, attackers corrupted the widely used Android app in Google Play.
The new (corrupted) version of the app which delivers the malware was discovered by security researchers at Bitdefender. Reportedly, “com.psiphon3”, the app package which is known for giving uncensored access to the content on the internet was exploited by cybercriminals as they reconfigured it with spyware framework.
The threat actors decided to distribute the corrupted version of the app via third-party app stores instead of going conventional by delivering it via the Google Play store and to generate revenue, they tied up the app with Google Ads, Mopub Ads, InMobi Ads, and various other adware components.
 While hiding its presence into the device, Triout Android Malware is programmed to collect phone calls, record videos, take pictures, access text messages, and GPS. It transfers the gathered information to the hackers’ command and control server.
As per the researchers at Bitdefender, the original and the tainted app shares the same UI which means the criminals only inserted the Triout spyware component while tampering the app and they tampered v91 of the app which currently is running on v241.
Referencing from the findings of researchers, “The original legitimate application is advertised as a privacy tool that enables access to the open internet when bundled with the Triout spyware framework it serves the exact opposite purpose.”
 “While the Triout Android spyware framework itself does not seem to have undergone changes in terms of code or capabilities, the fact that new samples are emerging and that threat actors are using extremely popular apps to bundled the malware,”