A couple of weeks ago the right went crazy over this story:
The unusual e-mail sent to Senate staffers this week warning them not to visit The Drudge Report for fear of a virus has some critics crying foul, suggesting the missive is the latest attempt by Democrats to stifle dissent in the media.
The Drudge Report, a popular Web site which aggregates news links, often trumpets headlines critical of Democratic leaders. Known for getting insider news, Drudge’s scoops on the primitive-looking site commonly show up in mainstream media coverage every day.
So when the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms sent out an e-mail warning those on Capitol Hill not to visit Drudge or whitepages.com because they “are responsible for the many viruses popping up throughout the Senate,” conservatives objected.
“I suspect somebody was trying to make it look as if there’s a virus there to discourage people from using Drudge,” Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., told CNSNews.com. “Then, somehow, I guess someone in the Capitol got a hold of it and said, yes, we are advising you not to use it.”
But today we get confirmation of this from a totally non-partisan source – CNET:
Malware that exploits holes in popular applications is being delivered by big ad delivery platforms including those run by Yahoo, Fox, and Google, according to Prague-based antivirus firm Avast.
Viruses and other malware were found to be lurking in ads last year on high-profile sites like The New York Times and conservative news aggregator Drudge Report.com, and this year on Drudge, TechCrunch and WhitePages.com. The practice has been dubbed “malvertising.”
Now, 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.
Interesting enough the first article above is from FOX, one of the sites mentioned as having a virus problem.
Viruses are common to sneak through ad services, and there isn’t any real way to stop it. Sites have to pay the hosting bills (and more importantly – the programmers hehe), and the way to do that is through advertising. The best thing a site can do is be vigilant against these kinds of ads. Investigate immediately and block the offending ad. It’s now always an easy task, but it is much better than the alternative of creating a boogie-man theory and denying it like Matt Drudge is doing.