Thursday, March 18, 2010

Be wary of fake online ads

According to a Wall Street Journal article, some major web news sites aren't checking their advertisers' ads carefully enough. Hackers are taking advantage of the situation, buying space and posting fake ads for real companies. Click the fake ad and you're taken to a fake site where you could unknowingly download viruses and malware.
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.

Similar attacks occurred across a series of News Corp.-owned sites in February, including AmericanIdol.com, FoxNews.com and IGN.com. In January, clicking on an ad on Major League Baseball's MLB.com led visitors to a site with malware.

Safety tip: Don't click those ads, even if the offer is enticing. Go directly to a company's site if you're truly interested in their products. If you don't know how to find the company's site, do a Google search.

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