A couple of weeks ago, readers who visited the popular pundit Web site, the Drudge Report, claimed the site was the source of malware that infected their computers. Sadly, one senator tried to put a political spin on the attack, claiming it was a ruse to keep people from the conservative writer.
Malware is non-partisan. According to an article on CNET News, the Drudge Report was only one of a number of popular Web sites hosting malware and viruses. Antivirus firm Avast has found malware exploits holes in advertising platforms, a practice known as malvertising. Writer Elinor Mills reported:
Researchers at Avast are pointing fingers at some large ad delivery platforms including Yahoo's Yield Manager and Fox Audience Network's Fimserve.com, which together cover more than 50 percent of online ads, and to a much smaller degree Google's DoubleClick. In addition, some of the malicious ads ended up on Yahoo and Google sites, Avast claims.
Mills added that visitors don't have to actually click on the ads to be infected. The simple act of the ad loading onto the browser does the damage.
Keeping advertising off Web sites is not an option these days, as it provides an important revenue stream. And you never know when a trusted Web site is infected -- until you visit it and hopefully your antivirus software catches the attempted attack before it worms its way into your computer.
If you've ever wondered exactly what malware and viruses do, you might enjoy this video that explains how a botnet turns your computer into a zombie.