IT Trenches

Sep 16 2009   6:31PM GMT

Would you click if it showed on the NY Times website? – Really would you?

Troy Tate Profile: Troy Tate

Yesterday Fierce CIO reported that New York Times falls victim to rogue ad. This is a trend that seems to be happening more frequently. Rogue malware ads are appearing in a lot of places these days in areas most people would trust as authoritative and reliable sources of information. It is unknown how much the rogue malware “seller” may have gotten by putting the ad on the NY Times website but they likely made something from unsuspecting users. The NY Times did suffer some amount of loss since they disabled all third party ads until the rogue ad was removed. What would you do if an ad popped up on a trusted website saying your computer was infected? Most IT professionals would disregard the message as their systems SHOULD already be protected. However, how much of the general population is not an IT professional (at least outside of their own home ;) )?

What can and should the security industry do to educate users about these social engineering tactics? Should computers be “licensed” or “permitted” to be on the internet to reduce threats to unsuspecting users? That’s a thought for you… what governing body would issue these computer use permits? What would the rate infrastructure be like – based on processor/memory or bandwidth? Where would the permit fees go? Would there be some internet oversight body that uses the fees to have inline malware filters?

Thinking out loud here folks – offer some suggestions. Your input is welcome and appreciated.

Thanks for reading and let’s continue to be good network citizens!

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20090918 Update:

E-Week reports that there is a surge in click fraud. According to the article this is similar to the NY Times advertisement malware threat discussed above. I fear this trend will only get worse. What is a legitimate advertiser or web services organization to do?

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