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The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating many existing problems in society, especially those dealing with cybersecurity. Google today talked about efforts to combat COVID-19 ad fraud, and recapped its work last year.

As with any crisis, malicious parties are using COVID-19 to take advantage of unsuspecting people. This includes creating fraudulent advertisements for face masks and other products in short supply.
These ads promoted products listed significantly above market price, misrepresented the product quality to trick people into making a purchase or were placed by merchants who never fulfilled the orders.
Since the start of the outbreak, Google has “closely monitored advertiser behavior” and assembled a COVID-19 task force. The group has improved existing enforcements systems and created new detection technology:
We’ve blocked and removed tens of millions of coronavirus-related ads over the past few months for policy violations including price-gouging, capitalizing on global medical supply shortages, making misleading claims about cures, and promoting illegitimate unemployment benefits.
That said, Google recognizes that NGOs, governments, hospitals, and healthcare providers want to use ads as PSAs. The company will adjust policies to “ensure that [it’s] protecting users while prioritizing critical information from trusted advertisers.”
 
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