Microsoft has been deceived by its own algorithms lately, which have temporarily presented to BING readers, a guide explaining how to hack Office 2019.
It is indeed not the kind of information Microsoft wanted to highlight, but its search engine selection algorithms decided otherwise. As Jeroen Frijters, a computer security expert whose results were collected by ZDNet on December 14, 2018, pointed out, Bing published an insert promoting a hacking guide in Office 2019.
The insert in question included an extract from a website whose name leaves no doubt about its intentions: crackfullpc.com.
In the passage highlighted by Bing, several steps are described to recover the 2019 edition of the Office suite: installing the µTorrent software, starting the download once the appropriate torrent file has been retrieved, obtaining a serial key from the program, going through a CD/DVD drive emulator, installing Office 2019, using the key generator, and so on.
Bing, a bad search engine?
These insertions on the pages of a search service are not new. For several years, in some requests, the search engines have not only been looking for answers but have also answered questions directly. In doing so, these services are no longer just search engines: they too are answer engines.
You can have it in one of your searches on Google, Bing, Qwant or even DuckDuckGo: specific keywords trigger the display of one or more information insertions.
For example, if you type the word “weather,” search engines can show you the weather, where you are – if you know your geographical location – or information from Wikipedia about weather. The idea, of course, is to promote reliable information, but also legal.
A site with a suspicious profile
In this case, it wasn’t like that: Microsoft doesn’t have to send Internet users to a site that explains how to pirate one of its products, plus through a service on its search engine. At the time of writing, the disputed insert is no longer visible (but the site is still referenced).
It seems that Microsoft has intervened to remove this guide, but without excluding the site from its index (it appears in fourth place in the download request “Office 2019”). Currently, none of the links used to retrieve the hacking tools are working.
In any case, no alert was triggered when it was passed to an online antivirus service. However, this type of site should be visited with suspicion, even if no alarms are triggered: it is not uncommon for promises of easy piracy of highly valued software (or cultural content) to hide a trap leading to the download of a harmful program.