Online advertising companies have also been observed as not 100% secure services as frequently, their content distributed fake news, click-bait articles or malware-laden adverts. The popular and extremely profitable Taboola ad-network has obtained a rather cozy position in the digital world, but some security researchers are still regarding its content as questionable. Within the last weeks of September in 2017, a very disturbing truth resurfaced and made many researchers say “I told you so!”.
Taboola served malicious ads in MSN.com
From the recent news, owners of MSN.com intentionally included Taboola Ads in their domain. When you are making such a deal with MSN.com, the 53rd website in the world, you have to be careful. However, Taboola failed this task and provided MSN with advertisements that lead users straight into technical support scams. Such deceptive domains are only interested in tricking users and obtaining money.
The technical support scam pretended to originate from Microsoft technicians and urged users to contact a toll-free helpline. In addition to this, the domain insisted that people would reveal the usernames and passwords of Windows accounts with administrative rights.
This incident should definitely discourage more cautious website-owners from including ads from Taboola into their domains. It now has become clear that the ad-serving network should make their requirements more strict and review the submitted content before pushing it to its partners.
This just goes to prove that tons of online advertisements are bound to cause trouble. If you notice that your browsing is being interrupted by adverts, please make sure that your operating system has not become compromised by malware.
In addition to this, we always encourage our users to stay away from ads in unknown websites. However, the fact that MSN.com transferred people to technical support scams reminds us that basically any domain can become a distributor of suspicious content.
However, there are certain features of potentially dangerous ads:
1. They are presenting fake news or click-bait articles. We are referring to headline of “Justin Bieber is dead: see pictures to believe!” or “1 easy trick to pay off your home in half the time”. While they do sound intriguing, check reputable sources for more information instead of an unreliable source.
2. They present technical support. It could be that an ad will warn users that their operating systems are severely damaged. Do not believe these statements.
3. Lotteries, surveys and other participation-requiring adverts. They usually could require to learn users personal details or other information.