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Thread: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    Lately on a few sites, notably Anandtech and Tom's Hardware, I keep getting malicious redirect adverts like this:


    They vary, sometimes displaying ISP (often incorrectly) and phone manufacturer taken from headers no doubt.

    They're frequently accompanied by JS alerts and activating vibration on the phone. This is on nearly every visit to Anandtech lately, to the point it's impossible to actually read any articles without an ad blocker.

    AFAIK it's nothing on my side - it's only in the browser, they're fairly straightforward to close and only affect a few specific sites. I've also tried clearing data for Chrome to no avail. Thankfully Hexus seems OK at the moment. As I don't have a Twitter account, nor an account on AAT forums, I had a look for email contact details and the best I could find was something at Purch so I let them know a few weeks ago, but nothing has changed.

    Some advertising networks really need to get their house in order - complaining about ad blockers in one breath, but allowing adverts which utterly break your website in another!

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    Mostly Me Lucio's Avatar
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    Re: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    It's the Disquiss (sic??) network, it's become fairly popular on a lot of sites and is as vulnerable as heck to being hijacked by malicious ads.

    (\___/) (\___/) (\___/) (\___/) (\___/) (\___/) (\___/)
    (='.'=) (='.'=) (='.'=) (='.'=) (='.'=) (='.'=) (='.'=)
    (")_(") (")_(") (")_(") (")_(") (")_(") (")_(") (")_(")


    This is bunny and friends. He is fed up waiting for everyone to help him out, and decided to help himself instead!

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    Don't Anandtech use their own comments system though?

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    HEXUS.staff Mason.Lyons's Avatar
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    Re: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    The fact it says CloudFlare inc is interesting as this indicates they are grabbing something from the server - Not 100% sure on how cloudflare works atm though. Any idea if this happens on iOS?

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    I've no idea, only use Android on mobile at the moment. I've not had it happen with Hexus though.

    Something else interesting is the time in the popup doesn't match the actual time, not even the minutes are the same. It could just be fixed text though.

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    Re: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    I've installed https://pi-hole.net/ on my Ubuntu box. Its a network ad blocker. Simply edit your DHCP server settings with the IP of Pi-Hole for your DNS servers. Boom, no more ads.

    I've always been a supporter of online advertising until this year. I had some extremely offensive ads on Eurogamer, 2 infected ads on 2 different machines and battery sucking ads on my Android tablet.

    With Pi-Hole, websites now load faster, I have better battery life and I can happily browse without all the click-bait nonsense at the bottom of every page.

    There is a really nice and simply web interface to manage Pi-Hole. You can easily whitelist ads on your favourite sites or blacklist sites you want to block all together.

    Overall it was well worth the 30-40 minutes to setup.

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    HEXUS.staff Mason.Lyons's Avatar
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    Re: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Firejack View Post
    I've installed https://pi-hole.net/ on my Ubuntu box. Its a network ad blocker. Simply edit your DHCP server settings with the IP of Pi-Hole for your DNS servers. Boom, no more ads.

    I've always been a supporter of online advertising until this year. I had some extremely offensive ads on Eurogamer, 2 infected ads on 2 different machines and battery sucking ads on my Android tablet.

    With Pi-Hole, websites now load faster, I have better battery life and I can happily browse without all the click-bait nonsense at the bottom of every page.

    There is a really nice and simply web interface to manage Pi-Hole. You can easily whitelist ads on your favourite sites or blacklist sites you want to block all together.

    Overall it was well worth the 30-40 minutes to setup.
    Wasn't aware you could do this with Pi-Hole. Might have to look into it.

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    Re: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    *duplicate*

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    Re: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    To be fair, I block a very small handful of domains on my DNS server and that cuts out the vast majority of advertising.

    For malware, I also have a script to download zone files nightly from malwaredomains.com - there's a lot in that.

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    I'm trying to avoid completely blocking ads as I understand it's how a lot of companies actually make money, but companies who don't care about what adverts they're serving are really shooting themselves in the foot as I won't keep checking if they've sorted the problem on a regular basis and I imagine most people are the same - once they get blocked, they'll stay that way for a while.

    FWIW I don't think the majority of adverts are actively trying to download malware, rather they're just nonsense browser hijackers that try to avoid you closing them. Also I think browsers have a lot to answer for there - it should not be possible for any website to forcibly steal focus and prevent closing, even the 'prevent additional dialogues' thing doesn't always work properly as I think they've worked around it by pretending the popups are from different origins or something.

    And you really shouldn't need to install third-party ad blockers to a) avoid wasting the majority of your data allowance on bloaded adverts and b) to avoid malicious nonsense.

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    Re: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    I've got no problem with simple textual adverts that don't take up bandwidth or masses of processing power. e.g. Google's search links. But yeah, big graphics that suck your bandwidth, javascript bloat that kills your browser, pop ups and redirects. Nope. Not gonna happen.

    There's a beginning of a trend of paywalls if you block adverts. And you know what, that's fine too, there is very little on the Internet that I really need to get to on one specific site. I simply won't use those sites.

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: What's going on with malicious mobile adverts?

    That's pretty much my attitude TBH - sites having the cheek to ask for payment because you're blocking their bloated/malicious adverts? Nope!

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