Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Next Ad You Click May Be a Virus

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the simple-solution-suggests-itself dept.

Security 226

Jay notes a Wall Street Journal report about ad networks unintentionally selling empty space to malware loaders (the link is to a syndicating site that doesn't require a subscription to view). The submitter comments: "The labeling of the fake ad sellers as hackers is pretty bogus; there's no hacking involved. Simply sign up for one of these networks, create your fake site, put up another company's creative, and you're good to go." The incidents being reported go back a few months, but the pattern of this criminal activity seems to be coming clear only recently."EWeek.com, a technology news site owned by Ziff Davis Enterprise, in February displayed an ad on its homepage masquerading as a promotion for LaCoste, the shirt maker. The retailer hadn't placed the ad — a hacker had, to direct users to a Web site where harmful programs would be downloaded to their computers, says Stephen Wellman, director of community and content for Ziff Davis."

cancel ×

226 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Aren't they all? (4, Insightful)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342281)

I mean really, its all just semantics (and semiotics) and we're all infected...cookie anyone?

Re:Aren't they all? (5, Informative)

dean.collins (862044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342445)

As a content provider (I'm the founder of http://www.livebaseballchat.com/ [livebaseballchat.com] stuff like this annoys the hell out of me.

I mean we go to all the effort to secure passwords, code tc - then our users are infected with ads they view....

We were sourcing our banner ads from Pubmatic but after a two 'problem ads' about 3 weeks I've cut it back to Google + banners we sell internall direct to end companies.

I dont have any answers but if you have a problem with a website be sure to let the content owners know - they might not even realise they have a problem.

Cheers,
Dean Collins
http://www.livebaseballchat.com/ [livebaseballchat.com]

Re:Aren't they all? (4, Insightful)

dziban303 (540095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342543)

People actually click on ads?

Re:Aren't they all? (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342615)

Evidently someone does, and I'm grateful.

Re:Aren't they all? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343111)

I'm sure there's a firefox addon for that. Would go along nicely with adblock.

what ads? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28342297)

/strokes adblock

Re:what ads? (0)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342425)

+1

Re:what ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28342501)

And when the good sites on the internet disappear from lack of advertising revenue, it'll be YOUR FAULT! In the hereafter you will be shrunk down to sub-micron size and burn for all eternity under the heatsink of a poorly cooled Pentium 4 based web server!

Re:what ads? (2, Insightful)

0xygen (595606) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342749)

And when all the good sites on the internet have disappeared, the people who made them will be back on business on pay sites taking subscriptions.
Better to just get paid directly for quality content, than splitting it with a whole mountain of third parties.

Oh wait, the content isn't so great that people will pay for it? Bummer.

Re:what ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28343029)

And when all the good sites on the internet have disappeared, the people who made them will be back on business on pay sites taking subscriptions.

So they'll be selling porn then?

Re:what ads? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343051)

Well, there's content that you want to read but wouldn't want to pay for. It's something "nice to have", but you wouldn't spit out dough for it.

All those "nice to have" pages would vanish if it weren't for ads.

Re:what ads? (1, Troll)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343179)

All those "nice to have" pages would vanish if it weren't for ads.

If you can't support your website with only ads that don't try to grab my attention any possible way they can, don't blame me for using adblock. I have stuff to do, and my attention is valuable enough, especially when I'm looking for the content you want me to look for.

Re:what ads? (4, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343225)

No hope for the Web, I guess. Even if I didn't block the ads I'd never click them, and even if I clicked them I'd never buy the products. The Web is going to collapse and it's all my fault. Sob.

Re:what ads? (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343471)

All those "nice to have" pages would vanish if it weren't for ads.

Facebook and Twitter go to the shitter!

Re:what ads? (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342763)

Actually it is the webmasters and advertisers fault that so many of us use ABP and Noscript. Pull up a chair young'un and let me explain.

Back in the old days (cue my oldest saying "when folks had 8-tracks and dinosaurs ruled the earth") ads were just a few lines of pretty text or a picture, or hell if you wanted to be fancy a little .gif. But we had us a problem. you see, all these video formats were competing, and most really REALLY sucked. Anybody who went through the heyday of Real player on Windows knows of which i speak, so somebody came up with flash, which worked okay.

But then the evil advertising execs saw the flash video and said "You know what? I bet we can use this to irritate the living hell out of folks. Let's see them ignore our fricking ads now baby!" and thus was born the Bonzi Buddy of web evil, the "shoot the monkey and win a ---" ads. And they truly were irritating as all hell. but then the other ad execs saw this, and being the evil creatures of Satan that they are, said "we can top that!" and so ads became ever more annoying and evil. In fact I am surprised somebody hasn't put that damned frog [tramsmail.se] in a looping flash ad with little text that says "buy coke"

Hell for all I know, they may have. I and many other wouldn't know, because one day a great and noble man named Wlad came along and said "Damn, that's irritating as fuck!" and being the great man that he is, created the wonder that is ABP. And all was good. Now if you and any other web masters want to appeal to those of us blessed with the ABP to let your puny site poison our eyes, that is fine. but woe be unto you if you show us even ONE of those damned "shoot the monkey and win a ---" ads for we shall put you in the blacklist for all eternity. Amen.

Re:what ads? (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343075)

And in return adblock and noscript is what keeps these pages in existance.

If you did see those full page flash ads, and you had no chance to block them, would you still visit the page? Or would it not be worth the annoyance and you'd just turn away in disgust? Using adblock and noscript keeps their impressions up and thus keeps the pagemasters from learning that annoying the living hell out of your visitors isn't how you attract people.

Re:what ads? (4, Insightful)

Pinckney (1098477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343347)

If you did see those full page flash ads, and you had no chance to block them, would you still visit the page? Or would it not be worth the annoyance and you'd just turn away in disgust? Using adblock and noscript keeps their impressions up and thus keeps the pagemasters from learning that annoying the living hell out of your visitors isn't how you attract people.

People don't care. I find internet ads to be just as annoying as television ads, but most people keep using both without blocking them. Most of the time, when I use someone else's computer, they have no ad-blocking software at all. It's not just lack of knowledge. I just asked my sister if she wanted to block online ads. She said "It's fine. I don't want to mess with it. I really don't care at all." Ads are everywhere in our culture, and most people don't give a damn.

Re:what ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28343215)

> Back in the old days (cue my oldest saying "when folks had 8-tracks and dinosaurs ruled the earth") ads were just a few lines of pretty text or a picture

Back in the old days, the internet did not HAVE ads. Let alone pictures, unless you uudecoded them yourself.

Sheesh. Noobs.

(It also didn't have Microsoft OS PCs on it. I wonder if these things are related).

Eternal September. Now get off my lawn!

Re:what ads? (1)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343433)

Congratulations, you've won a free iPod Nano!

Re:what ads? (1)

stine2469 (1349335) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343699)

That wasn't loud enough, try again.

Re:what ads? (3, Informative)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343809)

This is my favourite piece of sanity: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] One hosts file, one reboot, no more problems anywhere. Shit google ads don't even work. They may show up, but you can't click em. I just got tired of waiting for shit ads to load. I never clicked em, so I'm actually saving the sites money by not having to serve me an ad I'll never click. This also stops tons of phishing sites and other malware. I can even use ie and opera and don't see ads.

Re:what ads? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342953)

No, it will be your fault for making an unsustainable website.

Re:what ads? (2, Insightful)

Kranerian (1427183) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343373)

I'm never going to click on ads whether or not I can see them. There's no reason to have them sitting around annoying me.

Re:what ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28342663)

some ads are worth reviewing

/strokes cock

Re:what ads? (1)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343229)

You mean virusblock?

When will this end? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28342299)

While the internet is a wonderful thing; I can't help but wonder where did all of the douchebags come from. Every liar, cheat, grifter is taking their shot at fucking up the sandbox we all play in. Its all fun and games when windows users get hosed, but after awhile even that gets old. I am just a tired old man. It makes me sad that my poor view of humanity gets reinforced every time I turn around.

Re:When will this end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28342379)

So stop turning around and just take it like a man.

Re:When will this end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28342469)

Everyone has a price. For some people, it's making $100/mo in profit in selling dick pills.

Re:When will this end? (4, Insightful)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342531)

Botnets and financial data have value, so it makes sense that there's profit to be had in finding ways to infect new machines. These are the same douchebags that fill up my gmail Spam folder. If there's profit to be had, and nearly zero chance you'll be caught, people will do pretty much anything. It's human nature. All you can do is improve the sandbox so that people can't (profitably) abuse it, and most of the douchebags will leave.

Re:When will this end? (0)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342581)

While the internet is a wonderful thing; I can't help but wonder where did all of the douchebags come from

Well here's a tip: those viruses only run on one platform.

Re:When will this end? (1, Insightful)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342921)

News flash for you;

Windows is the only platform worth writing virus for.

The others market share added together is not even 10%. Why would anyone write a virus that cannot effect 90% of potential targets.

Re:When will this end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28343427)

Why would anyone write a virus that cannot affect 90% of potential targets?

Fixed that for you.

/grammar-nazi

Re:When will this end? (1)

miggyb (1537903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343719)

I don't think you understand how percentages work. 10% of a huge number is still a pretty large number. If there are 10^x computers out there, and the platform you are writing for has a one percent market share, that's still 10^(x-2) you'd be infecting. Substitute an x value that's large enough, and you'll see what I mean. The problem is that if you're going to spend more resources on that 1% to find a flaw that's going to be more quickly fixed, then it's not worth it. Therein lies the problem.

Re:When will this end? (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343025)

Well here's a tip: those viruses only run on one platform.

OK, so next week, all Microsoft OSes are made illegal, and users have just thirty days to switch to another. What's your pleasure - Mac or Linux?

So everyone has changed to one or the other. Wanna take a bet how long it will take for viruses and exploits to start showing up in large quantities?

Re:When will this end? (5, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342635)

I feel your pain. The unfolding truth seems to be that they were always there and humanity really sucks for the most part. The internet just makes it easier to tally the grim statistics.

Re:When will this end? (5, Insightful)

eriks (31863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343651)

Humanity is actually mostly nice, really. It's just that with 7 billion people, even if only .01% are complete assholes, that's almost a million people, and you just know that ALL of those people are on the internet messing with us, and they seem like a billion people thanks to the amplification power of technology.

Re:When will this end? (2, Funny)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342725)

It's the current 'big thing'. Eventually people will realize you don't make much money with spam and they'll go back to robbing banks like civilized people.

Re:When will this end? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28342955)

Someone said it before, "You have to understand economics to understand security."

We allowed them in (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343101)

You know, back in the good ol' days of yore, when the internet was young and so were we, we created a beautiful garden. We, the geeks, we came together and we built. We created flowerbeds and hacked away the weed so people could find a path through the wilderness, we invited other geeks to join us in our creation so they would maybe build something even greater on top of ours. We looked at it and saw it was stunning and beautiful, and we looked outside for the "others", the "mundanes", the average guy and we thought, wouldn't it be a great idea if they, too, could see how beautiful and magical it all is? Imagine, when we, a handful of geeks, can create such wonders, what miracles are waiting for us to see if we just let others join in the creation?

Sure, they were no gardeners, so we paved a few ways through our wonderland, lest they got their feet dirty on the muddy paths we used to walk on. And the people came. They came in, and they looked. Few wanted to create, actually, most just enjoyed the view (hey, how many gardening exhibits do you know where you can see exotic plants without having to pay admission?), some tried to plant but soon got fed up when they noticed they'd have to know a bit about gardening.

And of course, in came also the ones that find pleasure in destruction, who wanted nothing but to destroy the creations. We had to fence them in, we had to hire guards for our creations so they wouldn't get destroyed. Often enough, those guards were not good enough and quite a few beauties are no more.

Personally, I wonder if it was a good idea to unlock those doors and pave some ways.

Re:We allowed them in (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28343273)

> Personally, I wonder if it was a good idea to unlock those doors and pave some ways.

It was certainly NOT a good idea. It was, however, inevitable. Not you, not me, not anyone could have stopped it any more than you could have stopped the widespread use of the printing press. In fact, even *less* than you could have stopped that.

Re:We allowed them in (2, Funny)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343451)

I am interested in your ideas and would like to subscibe to your newsletter.

Re:We allowed them in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28343479)

Personally, I wonder if it was a good idea to unlock those doors and pave some ways.

I had my second thoughts about that too, then I remembered that I spent most of the weekend following this guy [twitter.com] , or this guy [twitter.com] or this guy [twitter.com] any one of whom, for the past 72 hours, were (and may still be) providing better (more factual and timely) reporting than CNN and BBC put together.

Re:We allowed them in (1)

Saija (1114681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343617)

You, Sir, are a poet, hope i could mod you +10 Insigthful and want to see more post like yours, Kudos.

Re:When will this end? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343209)

I believe some of those people may also need to be reminded about standing on your lawn. Sad ... the memory is the first thing to go.

Re:When will this end? (2, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343405)

Noniterated game.

Seriously. Reputation is everything. No effect on reputation ==> no morals, at least for many people.

Re:When will this end? (2, Interesting)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343413)

"Every liar, cheat, grifter is taking their shot at fucking up the sandbox we all play in."

You forgot greedy corporations, they arguably do more damage than the rest put together since they have the power, influence and money to really fuck it up for us mere mortals.

Re:When will this end? (1)

bit01 (644603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343435)

I can't help but wonder where did all of the douchebags come from.

It's simple statistics. In any large group of people, and on the internet we're talking billions, even if most people are wonderful it is a statistical certainty that a small fraction will be douchebags. Those douchebags have visibility out of all proportion to their numbers. e.g. The 4 people who were responsible for 3 billion robocalls [consumerist.com] .

In addition, in the real world it's usually obvious when you're dealing with an possibly unsocialized child. On the net, not so much.

---

The USA is <5% of the world's population. It is statistically insignificant.

About time someone made a report on this. (2, Interesting)

Girtych (1345935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342303)

My coworkers and I have been dealing with AntiVirus XP and its variants for the past few months, and it seems to infect computers in exactly this way. Badvertisements. It's hardly a new phenomenon, but it's nice to see the press pick up on it. Better late than never.

There's, What, Three Web Publishers, Right? (1)

Quothz (683368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342313)

From TFA:

Web publishers say they have started limiting the number of companies they outsource their ad selling to and are working with security vendors, such as San Francisco-based ClickFacts, to detect malicious software on their networks and remove it as quickly as possible.

I'm impressed! The Wall Street Journal talked to every Web publisher and got them to agree to do this. We should send Emily to go negotiate peace in the middle east.

Re:There's, What, Three Web Publishers, Right? (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342329)

At least two publishers.

Or, given how English works, technically zero works as well.

So lucky me... (4, Informative)

koolfy (1213316) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342323)

...having that "Disable Advertising" checkbox from Slashdot :)

"As our way of thanking you for your positive contributions to Slashdot, you are eligible to disable advertising. "
Thank you for preventing my Gentoo Linux system for being infec...

Oh, wait...

I can see! (1)

awarrenfells (1289658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342335)

Wait, they are just now realizing this? And here I had thought this was common knowledge, and that they were actually doing something to fight it.

No wonder I couldn't see anything being done about it.

Duh. (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342351)

Welcome to 1990 when Al Gore invented the intertubes.

yes, but... (2, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342353)

... who clicks ads? (other than for click fraud purposes)

Re:yes, but... (1, Troll)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342919)

Ignorant people, who also happen to be ignorant enough to download and run any executable or installation without question.

Re:yes, but... (3, Funny)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343077)

Internet Explorer does. Internet Explorer is so awesome, you don't even need to click on an add to get infected. It's will do all automatically for you, there is this new wonderful M$ caching feature that keep clicking the whole Internet for you. Join the botnet close to your home now, all free today thanks to IE9! Remember, iexplore.exe will be always there for you.

A virus? How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28342359)

Clicking an add will load, via http, an html page (maybe with some javascript) that my web browser will display.

A virus is a program that copies itself onto another program.

How is a web page going to execute arbitrary software of the attacker's choosing, on my machine?

The only way they can do this is if my browser is vulnerable to some kind of exploit.

Web pages cannot contain viruses unless the browser that loads them is fucked up. A decent browser knows to never trust input from the public Internet.

Ads link to malware sites?!? YAWN! Ads themselves are malware and should be blocked.

Re:A virus? How? (3, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342485)

Ads link to malware sites?!? YAWN!

That was quite a loud yawn.

Re:A virus? How? (0, Redundant)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342687)

The only way they can do this is if my browser is vulnerable to some kind of exploit.

One such exploit could be Microsoft ActiveX. (There are legions of people who authorize that stuff without a second thought.)

The Next Ad You Click May Be a Virus (5, Funny)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342387)

Or it may win you ... A NEW CAR.

Are you prepared to take that risk?

Hmm ... that's not appearing like it should. It's spelt B-L-I-N-K, right?

Re:The Next Ad You Click May Be a Virus (1)

ACalcutt (937737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342709)

Re:The Next Ad You Click May Be a Virus (3, Funny)

cyberfunkr (591238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342963)

Oblig Family Guy:

Peter: A BOAT'S A BOAT, but the mystery box could be anything. IT COULD EVEN BE A BOAT. You know how much we wanted one of those.

Creative? Huh? (2, Insightful)

pestie (141370) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342393)

Another company's "creative?" What the hell does that mean? Is it some industry term for "crappy banner ad?"

Re:Creative? Huh? (2, Informative)

nvrrobx (71970) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342579)

Your answer, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Creative (noun, in advertising), referring to materials, imagery, or collateral prescriptively produced through creativity and the creative process

This is not specific to banner ads. This term is used in all forms of advertising.

Marketroid wordsmithing is epic meh (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343341)

This term is used in all forms of advertising.

Why am I not surprised that this word is invented by a marketroid?

Re:Marketroid wordsmithing is epic meh (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343757)

Actually I bet you have been hit almost one time by those marketoids, lets say you build up your PC from scratch, you look after trusted reviews but those reviews are nothing more than advertisements done in a creative (pseudo-not-biased)way. Or when was the last time you got the exact benchmarks that those in the reviews with the same hardware they used?... when was the last time you used some shampoo and you turned like that handsome guy in the ads?

Unless you're living on Cuba or north Korea I bet you've been charmed by that creative spell some way or another, and remember little grasshopper, Advertising is the only thing that makes capitalism palatable, or else I have some Victory cigarettes and Victory gin for you :)

Very simple asnwer (2, Informative)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342493)

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, I REPEAT NEVER EVER click an ad banner. If you see somthing you REALLY want to view get the source and go there in another browser window, but clicking thru an ad banner is somthing I can't ever remember doing in the entire time I've been on the net...

Re:Very simple asnwer (0, Flamebait)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342653)

> ...clicking thru an ad banner is somthing I can't ever remember doing in the entire time
> I've been on the net...

I can't ever remember seeing anything I want to view in an ad (but then, it's quite a while since I've seen an ad at all...)

Re:Very simple asnwer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28343163)

The problem is that simply not-clicking is not enough. While the page of a less scrupulous video-host website sits in your browser, the ads will hurl viruses at your computer and if you're lucky your antivirus will alert you. I don't know which avenue the malware exploits (and which software is responsible), but Firefox is vulnerable.

And this is why... (2, Insightful)

FunPika (1551249) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342517)

We have a little something called Ad Block Plus.

Re:And this is why... (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343547)

And that is why many informed users don't use Chrome, Safari, or IE.

PC huh? (1, Insightful)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342539)

"direct users to a Web site where harmful programs would be downloaded to their computers, says Stephen Wellman, director of community and content for Ziff Davis."

Do these affect Linux or Apple PC's? I'm guessing it's the good old Windows .exe and .dll again, an exclusive Windows issue disguised as a "PC" issue.

Why is it that areas where Microsoft want to portray a large market share (either exaggerated by reports from shills or real) they have the words Microsoft and Windows all over the stories, yet when it's something they have an almost 100% market share on (malware compatibility and vulnerability), there's no mention of either Microsoft or Windows; it's all just PCs.

FAO the Microsoft Astroturfers, it was a rhetorical question but feel free to do your job and mod me down for pointing out the obvious. Wait, Ziff Davis does ring a familiar bell, hmmmmm.

Re:PC huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28342685)

"direct users to a Web site where harmful programs would be downloaded to their computers, says Stephen Wellman, director of community and content for Ziff Davis."

Do these affect Linux or Apple PC's? I'm guessing it's the good old Windows .exe and .dll again, an exclusive Windows issue disguised as a "PC" issue.

Why is it that areas where Microsoft want to portray a large market share (either exaggerated by reports from shills or real) they have the words Microsoft and Windows all over the stories, yet when it's something they have an almost 100% market share on (malware compatibility and vulnerability), there's no mention of either Microsoft or Windows; it's all just PCs.

FAO the Microsoft Astroturfers, it was a rhetorical question but feel free to do your job and mod me down for pointing out the obvious. Wait, Ziff Davis does ring a familiar bell, hmmmmm.

Re:PC huh? (3, Insightful)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342695)

"direct users to a Web site where harmful programs would be downloaded to their computers, says Stephen Wellman, director of community and content for Ziff Davis."

Do these affect Linux or Apple PC's? I'm guessing it's the good old Windows .exe and .dll again, an exclusive Windows issue disguised as a "PC" issue.

"direct users to a Web site where harmful programs would be downloaded to their computers, says Stephen Wellman, director of community and content for Ziff Davis."

Do these affect Linux or Apple PC's? I'm guessing it's the good old Windows .exe and .dll again, an exclusive Windows issue disguised as a "PC" issue.

Yes, this is a "PC" issue, more specifically it is a "moron PC user" issue. Trust me, if the Linux and Mac marketshare were actually worth targeting for malware writers, you would see the very same kind of malware attacks succeed, because if the user clicks "Yes" to all prompts, what's there to prevent the malware from doing it's thing if it's actually designed to run on Linux.

Re:PC huh? (0)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343391)

"if it's actually designed to run on Linux."

Thank you for agreeing with me that this story is another Windows exclusive. The marketshare argument is bogus but it will attract more people to try and exploit Linux and Apple as their share grows. How successful they'll be is a different story.

That is in the future though, right now, the story is about Windows, without the mention that it's a Windows exclusive issue. Yet again it's misrepresented as a PC issue, implying that you're vulnerable regardless of the OS you run, which is false.

If the "targets being worthwhile" argument held, then Apple would be rich pickings. Apple users pay premium prices for their goods as they perceive them to be worth the money. They believe their products are immune from malware so won't run any anti-malware protection on their PCs. Apple have a set of default applications they include in OSX, so malware writers have a solid, stable and (supposedly) an unprotected target to aim for. Not only that, but it could be argued that since Apple users can pay premium prices, they are in a better position to be hit with ransomware. Yet, this is not happening, why not?

When stories like this start doing OS detection and giving users code designed to exploit their OS, it's then a PC issue. When it only affects Windows, it's a Windows issue. It'd be nice if we had some proper journalists who are willing to stand up to Micrsofts bullies and tell the truth.

Re:PC huh? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342697)

"direct users to a Web site where harmful programs would be downloaded to their computers, says Stephen Wellman, director of community and content for Ziff Davis."

Do these affect Linux or Apple PC's? I'm guessing it's the good old Windows .exe and .dll again, an exclusive Windows issue disguised as a "PC" issue.

Why is it that areas where Microsoft want to portray a large market share (either exaggerated by reports from shills or real) they have the words Microsoft and Windows all over the stories, yet when it's something they have an almost 100% market share on (malware compatibility and vulnerability), there's no mention of either Microsoft or Windows; it's all just PCs.

FAO the Microsoft Astroturfers, it was a rhetorical question but feel free to do your job and mod me down for pointing out the obvious. Wait, Ziff Davis does ring a familiar bell, hmmmmm.

As far as I can tell it's an exclusively non-adblock user issue.

Not News To Me (2, Insightful)

GearheadX (414240) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342583)

I've been cleaning crap off of computers installed by ad popups for the past year now.

who clicks on ads? (0)

Nomen Publicus (1150725) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342613)

Seriously, I can't recall the last time I clicked on an ad.

Re:who clicks on ads? (0)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342769)

I have ABP, what's an ad?

--
The average person uses their home PC for 2 things:
1) PORN
2) Sending email when they're not there.

People actually... (1)

FungusCannon (1408259) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342623)

...click on ads?

It's worse than that (5, Interesting)

Erik Fish (106896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342773)

Not clicking on banner ads isn't enough. For years I've been fine with letting any non-Flash banner ad through, but I a few months ago I finally installed Adblock after finding one too many PDF exploits being loaded through banner ad display code.

It works like this: You are minding your own business browsing some perfectly legitimate web site when suddenly you get a dialog box asking if you would like to execute the JavaScript in "this PDF document". There's no PDF in sight, no other windows, nothing else suspicious.

Oh, but you only get this dialog if you have JavaScript disabled in Acrobat (most people don't).

Re:It's worse than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28343129)

Oh, but you only get this dialog if you have JavaScript disabled in Acrobat (most people don't).

Or if you actually have Acrobat at all. I've been using GSview for both PS and PDF files and it has worked out fine. As a side benefit, GSview doesn't try to take over the browser, phone home, or randomly crash all the time. (It does have a nag screen, though. No one is perfect.)

Re:It's worse than that (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343195)

I'd like to tag this comment 'foxit'.

In all seriousness though, wouldn't not having acrobat solve this particular problem? Or are you just suggesting that it's a sign of the increasing number of possible attack vectors?

Re:Foxit isn't a complete fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28343611)

Foxit won't always help as there have been several security flaws that worked in both foxit and acrobat reader. Some worked as-is while others had to be modified slightly to compensate for things being at different memory addresses. You can make it harder by disabling javascript in foxit (much easer to do than acrobat) so that a malicious pdf can't tailor the exploit used to your specific reader software.

Re:It's worse than that (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343669)

It works like this: You are minding your own business browsing some perfectly legitimate web site when suddenly you get a dialog box asking if you would like to execute the JavaScript in "this PDF document". There's no PDF in sight, no other windows, nothing else suspicious.

Oh, but you only get this dialog if you have JavaScript disabled in Acrobat (most people don't).

I experienced just the opposite...
I kept seeing those dialogs until i disabled javascript in Acrobat.
Maybe you should go back and check to see if its disabled on your computer.

I also complained to the sit owner, but I couldn't say if its been fixed, since I don't see the dialog anymore.

Not only clicking will get you spyware (1)

ACalcutt (937737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342785)

You don't even need to click the ads. When I was using Adbrite for ads on my website I started getting driveby spyware just by visiting my website. It installed right from the ad (i'm guessing by way of flash). I dropped Adbrite and haven't looked back. Eventually google approved my adsense application and I am now using them...no problems since

This could be devistating to adsense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28342787)

Hmm, if such activity continues on an uprise, such a thing could eventually severely hurt ad-sense and the like, which the company I work for makes virtually all their cash from.

Who's clicking ads? (1)

TenDimensions (232370) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342805)

I'm being half-serious because I've always wondered how money is being made selling ads. No one I've asked has ever clicked an ad.

Re:Who's clicking ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28343137)

No one I've asked has ever knowingly clicked an ad.

Fixed that for you. :)

Ever moused over an ad? Even accidentally? Then you've "clicked" one. *sigh* me too, but not on purpose. :(

The Next Ad You Click May Be a Virus (1)

mistahkurtz (1047838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342819)

people do that?

Re:The Next Ad You Click May Be a Virus (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343265)

Yes. The same ones who get suckered by spam.

Re:The Next Ad You Click May Be a Virus (1)

mistahkurtz (1047838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343299)

...people do that?

"A Few Months Back" My Ass... (1)

memnoch37 (1047172) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342889)

It must be nice under the rock they've been living under for these past few years...

Not surprised (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 5 years ago | (#28342939)

Since I installed AdBlock Plus (for purposes of lowing annoyance level), I've noticed as a very pleasant side effect that my malware infection level has dropped tremendously.
Barely need to run AdAware & SpyBot & co any more, and when I do [even when their definitions are fully updated], there's barely anything for them to find

Where's the news? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343031)

It's anything but news. And I'm not even talking about shady scareware or "come to the page and you already signed an abo for 2 years and 160 bucks" scams.

Drive-by infection ad pages have appeared in noticable amounts about 2-3 years ago when iframe infections became en vogue. They were (and are) even actually quite professional, not just a copy of another company's page, they appear legit, but usually sell crap no person would actually want to buy (either overpriced or obviously bogus). But that's not the point. The point is to appear legit and like just some other page trying to hawk crap, so people don't wonder why someone would advertise a page with no content.

Not that the average user would wonder, but ...

How this works... (1)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343143)

"The labeling of the fake ad sellers as hackers is pretty bogus; there's no hacking involved. Simply sign up for one of these networks, create your fake site, put up another company's creative, and you're good to go."

well yes and no. What we are dealing with here is a combination of both hacker (as i will describe shortly) and con artist (which i will also describe shortly). Its not quite as easy as you think...

This problem extends well beyond ad networks- but first lets take a look at the ad serving software. The primary databases used for serving ads are DART (now owned by google), Atlas (now owned by microsoft), Zedo and OAS. Ads are uploaded into these databases in a variety of formats. Typically limited to Jpegs, gifs, .swfs as well as what is refered to as "rich media" which is often a few lines of code pasted into a file (usualy the code sources to a javascript) that serves up a redirected ad from another location. When these files are uploaded the database scans for malware that could potentially harm a computer system. More often than not these files are automatically turned off when the ad server detects an issue and emails the network administrator of the issue (presuming that the database of malicious software has been updated by the service provider a la google, microsoft, etc). Yes, on occasion something sneaks through.


Now onto how media is bought and sold. Typically when a site is approached for a request for ads, the publisher will ask the "agency" or "network" for a credit check. This is wear the mechanics break down- more often than not. Salespeople, especially green ones who (like most sales people) are both anxious to close a deal on remnant space AND are not aware of the ad serving technology and the potential for malicious intent, will cut corners and get the ads up. When these ads come in, they are loaded into the server- 99% of the time as real properly functioning ads. They click to the right locations and pass through the ad serving security services. A couple of days later, as the ad has been serving fine, the redirected urls (typically something like ads.somewebsite.com/324234/adserver/creative.js) have their .js file swapped out with the malicious software. Since this file has already passed the initial security check- it is not always scanned again for any potential exploits etc.


So- the quick solution is having ad networks and publishers take accountability for their sales people. It does not take much effort to find out if a "agency" can be trusted. I had one company recently try to pass of malicious ads but we traced their address back to a pizza parlor in LA (obviously a fake) after realizing no credit check was run. Second, and most important will be the methods of security taking by the major ad publishing softwares. Unfortunately, if you know anything about working with ad servers- critical updates move about as fast as html5 development (sllloooowww).

Good reason to block ads at the corporate firewall (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343263)

This is a good reason to block all ad sites at your corporate firewall. You'll probably cut your Internet bandwidth usage in half, too.

Riiiing! 1998 Called... (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343351)

They want their headline back!

AdBlockPlus FTW!

... And this is news how? (1)

znerk (1162519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343501)

To be honest, "fake" ads dragging you to a hateful, malware-spewing website is rather tame. The real fun was the banner ads that infected you directly, simply by viewing the flash.

*Sigh*
Just another reason to use adblock and noscript.

Gotta ask a question... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#28343675)

So say someone clicks an ad at a reputable site to support them, which is actually malware which does 'software' damage(lost productivity, loss of PC uptime, etc) to a users PC by injecting something. Who becomes responsible? The end user? The content provider? Ad provider? Guy making the malware? Everyone? Last 3 people in the chain?

Answers to this? I realize those of us in the /. crowd are technically inclined, but the average person isn't. I really do start to expect heads to start rolling over this.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>