Banner ads spread viruses

Written by Phil Cogar

November 16, 2007 | 14:11

Tags: #advertising #doubleclick #malicious #security #virus

If you chose to not run an antivirus because you only visit trusted sites, then you might want to reconsider getting one. The latest security breach on the internet has come from an unsuspecting place as banner adverts on some major websites may contain a virus.

It seems that some nice guy out there has figured out a way to inject a virus into flash-based banner ads and get them into DoubleClick's DART program. Once in rotation, it seems that the malware is either time or site triggered and then begins its assault on personal data on your PC.

You'll know instantly if you've come across one of these infected banners because of the following: first, your web browser will close down and then reopen with a redirect to an antivirus site. A dialog box will then pop up telling you that your computer is infected and that it is scanning your hard drive. Finally, the malware attempts to download software to your computer and then "scans" your hard drive another time.

The malicious ads have been found on major sites such as Canada.com, MLB.com, and Economist.com. You shouldn't need to worry too much about it though as DoubleClick has taken measures now to improve security. The company says that it has found and disabled a hundred ads so far.

"This is an industry-wide challenge. Unfortunately, there are bad actors who misrepresent themselves and purchase advertising as an avenue to distribute malware. This has the potential to affect all businesses and consumers in the online environment," says Sean Harvey, DoubleClick DART senior product manager.

It seems that no matter how safe you are on the web these days, you're eventually going to get hit with a virus or other malicious code.

Do you still not run an antivirus or have you finally decided to pick one up? Leave your suggestions for a great antivirus (free or not) over in the forums.
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