The NY Times Digital Advertising department unknowingly placed a malicious ad for fake antivirus software on the newspapers website.  The scammers claimed to be Vonage, the Internet phone provider, and posted an ad on the site. During the weekend, the advertisements were switched to pop-up ads that made website visitors think that their computers were infected.  This was done over the weekend so to make it harder for IT staff to respond. WingSwept suggests you beware of all pop ups and even be careful when closing it. Use the key Alt + F4 to close windows, because sometimes a ad has a “close” link but clicking it may actually be triggering it perform another action.

Around the same times, Microsoft filed five charges against scammers that put malware that was mistaken as legitimate advertisements on their AdCenter network. By clicking on the advertisements, one was led to a website that claimed his/her computer was infected and that the individual needed to purchase the anti-virus product (which was fake). They are unsure who is behind the exploitation, but hope that filing the five civil lawsuits will help uncover the criminals. A Microsoft representative said that, “Microsoft works vigilantly, using both technology and the law, to fight illegal activity that undermines people’s trust in the Internet and online services.” Learn more about malware and Microsoft’s lawsuits.

These stories shows how creative hackers have gotten and that their tactics have proven it possible for anyone to be tricked.