Many of us have been unlucky enough to come across an advert that makes it seem as though we’ve won something, such as a store gift card to sites such as Amazon, only to get redirected to another website when we try to close the ad.
Have no fear; this doesn’t mean that your browser has been hacked.
Many of these ads have been reported since the beginning of the year, but it can still be highly frustrating and confusing for many users. The sites usually ask us to input a host of our personal information with the promise that we will win a prize. So if we haven’t been hacked, then what is happening?
Why do we see these adverts?
Different companies will bid to land their advert on a page that allows ads and has a free slot. The process is rapid and will take place in the few seconds that the page is loading. If you see a malicious advert on the page, then it means the ad has won the slot for the page without the publisher of the article or the ad server ever knowing.
This advert then pops up and leads us to a false site whenever we try to close the pop-up. Thankfully, it’s not a virus.
We always work hard to make sure that a reader’s experience is the best it can be meaning we aim to eliminate any adverts that immediately play sound or pop-over adverts. This is by trying to remove any malicious ads before they make it to our site.
Sadly, it takes time to find the sources of these malicious ads as many use different sources. We work to block the sources as soon as they are identified, but they may come back if they start using another source or find a way to get around the block.
How do the adverts work?
Each malicious ad comes with three lines of code. These then create a link that will redirect a user after seven seconds. They wait this amount of time as it means the ads have been able to bypass any security tools that users and sites use to detect any malicious ads.
We are entirely against malicious ads and work incredibly hard to make sure that all of them are completely removed from all of our websites. Thankfully, automated services help us to scan the sites to ensure they are removed. Plus, our hard-working team are always searching for anything that seems questionable and malicious.
How can we stop the ads?
Even with all of our combined efforts, malicious ads appear to make a reappearance every few months. Many service providers are now less strict with regards to the ads they allow from publishers, which is why we are working hard to make sure that any advertisements follow the rules laid out on our page. Each ad comes in an iFrame – a web page found within a web page. However, some browsers now are now working on “sandboxing.” This limits these smaller web pages, which prevents ads from being able to redirect users.
We are still working as hard as we can to make sure we have a formula that limits as many malicious ads as we can, hopefully stopping them from appearing and moving them to a sandboxed iFrame. This means the ad won’t be able to reach its full potential. Users will still be able to click on the advert if they choose, but the malicious ad won’t be able to redirect users without their consent. If everything goes to plan, then our users will have a much more secure browsing experience on our sites.