A case for adblock: "Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC"
The economics of the Internet is very simple: websites publish content and place advertisements on the page to offset costs. In most cases these advertisements are supplied by a third party ad agency. Google AdCenter and Microsoft are huge players in this, as well as Amazon and many others. Generally, these advertisements are nothing more than annoying. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. Hackers have created malicious banner advertisements and are using Doubleclick to get them hosted on legitimate sites. So far, The Economist, MLB.com and Canada.com have all been infected. Here is an except from Wired:
If you’ve seen any of the ads, you may have experienced something like this: You’re on a legitimate site. Your browser window closes down. A new browser window comes up, redirecting you to an antivirus site, while a dialog box comes up telling you that your computer is infected and that your hard drive is being scanned. The malware tries to download software to your computer and scans your hard drive again.
In other advertising news, Engadget, a popular gadget blog, recently got into some hot water over an over the top and intrusive advertisement that was actually crashing people’s browsers. Here are the related posts (the comments are a good read)
In light of all of this I have cranked up my Adblock and am now blocking any and all advertisements. Ad agencies and websites together need to address this issue and gain my confidence back. I’m surely not going to let my machine get infected by some advertisement I don’t want to see to begin with. For the uninitiated, I have added links to different ad blocking programs for different browsers.