2.6 MILLION instances of infected ads since late December.

Since late December, anti-virus company Avast! has stated there have been over 2.6 MILLION instances caught by their software of online ads infected with malware being served up to computers.  It’s not just by the small and dodgy ad companies either.

The biggest culprits were Yahoo’s Yield Manager and Fox’s Fimserve which cover more than 50 percent of online ads.  Google’s DoubleClick wasn’t immune either, but its representation was significantly lower.

Most people will say be careful where you click, but this doesn’t help in the case of this particular infection (and many others).  All you had to do was visit a website displaying one and have a program installed they were capable of exploiting.  These programs include (but are not limited to) Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Flash, Sun Java and Apple QuickTime.

A common mistake people make is thinking they’re safe by only going to legitimate sites, but this is wrong as well.  The New York Times, Drudge Report, TechCrunch, WhitePages (US), NineMSN (AU), Fairfax (AU) just to name a few have all fallen victim of malicious ads on their websites in the past 12 months.

More details and my recommendations on how to protect yourself after the break. Continue reading

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