back to article DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads

DoubleClick, the massive internet advertising platform that recently agreed to be bought by Google, has been caught serving rogue ads designed to trick users into buying unneeded software, according to an article on eWeek. The maliciously crafted ads originated with an outfit known as After holding itself out as …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'd Forgotten about DoubleClick. Firefox+AdBlock Plus has saved me.

    Is this also happening with Google ads?

  2. Guy

    Oh El Reg....

    I do enjoy the fact this article, basically saying how doubleclick ad's are dangerous, are displayed on a page surrounded by, what?

    Well let me check....

    Yes indeed, a page festooned with doubleclick ad's.

    Well don El Reg, truly living up to your moto about hand biting.

  3. Eric Olson

    I realize it's small potatoes, but...

    The week before Halloween here in the states, the comic was hit by hostile redirect as well, with similar results. For him, it was a new advert client (not sure who the server was), but advertising GameFly, which is completely relevant to his readers. It was a Flash-based ad, and he was able to fix the issue using a gif ad instead. He was really embarrassed and apologized. It was the advertiser who took the new ad and placed it into rotation, without checking it.

    Needless to say, these days, even if you only go to trusted sites and try your hardest to practice safe surfing, you can still wake up with the clap... err... malware.

    I guess I should get my coat?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    This is why I don't feel guilty using ABP...

    I've seen some webmasters claim that anyone using AdBlock is basically a thief. Well, until they can guarantee the crap ads they serve up aren't going to infect my PC I will happily continue to "steal" from them. Ironically, I'm posting this at work where we're forced to us IE and I'm reminded how much I hate the Reg's ads, must be some of the most intrusive out there.

  5. Steve Roper

    Most blocked domain

    Yep, AdBlock is the go. And doubleclick is one of those sites that I block indiscriminately on every system I work on. It's blocked at my router at home, I've got it blocked at the firewall at work, and whenever a friend or family member asks me to come and fix their computer I block it at their routers too (I also install Firefox, set it as default, and remove all the IE icons from their systems as well, but that's another story - nobody's ever complained about the browser change).

    Doubleclick simply gets blocked on every system I get access to, and I've been doing that for years. It's also universally listed in blocklists for every spyware remover and adblocker out there, AdBlock plus aside. Doubleclick must be the most blocked domain on the internet, which makes me wonder why Google are so keen on buying it!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Noticed that Sensis in Australia is serving up some interesting ads from blessedads (redirects to as well that try to install a Trojan. Notified them on Monday but as of last night they are still spewing that rubbish out...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Long live AdBlock Plus

    ....enough said

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another vote for ABP

    I started a new job yesterday - and I have to use IE :(

    The alternative to ABP is simply not visiting sites that have intrusive ads.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    We are paying for the ads from our own pockets... we don't need to feel guilty about using AdBlock.

  10. Robin Stephens

    High traffic websites

    "Jackson said Monday that malicious ads are continuing to be served on high-trafficked websites, which he declined to identify by name"

    I am not afraid to name names. One of these ads appeared when I was browsing Routers.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    @Oh El Reg....

    Well, either El Reg is choosing providers based on their locations or quickly made the switch as soon as they got the news- because the only ads I see on El Reg are google ones.

    But yeah, I wonder why google wants doubleclick too. They're better off putting in money to build google auctions (not that I don't like eBay, but a monopolies aren't healthy).

  12. Nick Palmer
    Thumb Up

    @This is why I don't feel guilty using ABP...

    Agreed completely; if a site's revenue model is dependent upon serving ads, then they should make sure that what they're serving is clean. If they can't then the ad provider should, and if they won't then the site should find another provider. THEN may be end users who are sick of being bombarded with crap like this might give a **** about their revenue stream.

  13. Fenwar
    Thumb Up

    @"This is why I don't feel guilty using ABP... "

    I agree completely.

    People accept other advertising-supported content (e.g. free newspapers, TV programmes), because in these media, you don't have to worry about the ads trying to track you, silently building a profile across the pages you read or the programmes you watch. They don't leap out of their space on the page and over the top of the article you're reading. And they definitely won't tell you that your TV has a virus which they will conveniently remove for £20.

    If you want to generate revenue from your content, charge a subscription. If the content is good enough, people will pay. If it's not, then its not realistic to expect to make money by serving insipid Flash ads for dating sites and smiley packs(?!) on it either.

    There are a handful of sites whose ads I don't block, because they are served from the same domain as the site I am browsing - so I know that the owners have chosen advertisers who are relevant to their audience, and have vetted the banners (and even the products they are promoting) beforehand. (Penny Arcade is a good example of this policy - but even on their site I have noticed Adblock removing Doubleclick's tracker too.)

  14. A J Stiles

    Know something?

    I just had to alter my squid.conf so it would let me read this story! Now it reads

    acl adverts url_regex doubleclick\.

    as opposed to

    acl adverts url_regex doubleclick

    So now I can at least read stories about doubleclick, while hopefully their adverts remain stubbornly blocked at the proxy. I might even make a bit of money, charging punters a monthly fee for advert-free surfing .....

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    poor advertisers

    Based on my experience as a web master serving ads from people like double click and real media, i have to say that this is likely down to the media broker shoving inventory in without checking or caring about what it is or how it works. ... with them its all just money money money. Well its about time there came some responsibility, either that or more and more of us will use the fantastic ad-block plus!! (we wouldn't have thought about blocking ads if they hadn't shoved them in our faces so much... especially those expanding ads... arrrgggghhh i hate them!).

  16. Keith T

    What ads?

    "Well let me check....

    Yes indeed, a page festooned with doubleclick ad's.

    Well don El Reg, truly living up to your moto about hand biting."

    I didn't know there are ads on the Reg.

    Ah well, another fule not using Adblock.*

    It's not as if he didn't know about it if he's a regular Reg reader.

    *unless the poor sod's forced to use IE - in which case he has my sympathy.

  17. thomas k.

    MVPS hosts file

    I recently installed a new hosts file from which blocks Doubleclick ads by redirecting calls to their servers to your own hard drive, which returns blank space where the ads would be. Works like a charm.

  18. Mark Allen

    Why no checking by DoubleClick?

    How on earth can DoubleClick claim this is an "an industry-wide challenge"? Most responsible companies would not be upset at making sure their product is fit for market. In fact, there are laws about this.

    So why does DoubleClick think it is okay to just display any old rubbish their clients give them without checking it? They can't just "pass the buck" as surely they are the ones ultimately supplying the service?

    Should just go back to non-flash adverts....

    (Anyway... just like most people here... I ain't seen a DoubleClick advert in decades... been blocked at the router ever since I worked out how the DNS tables worked....)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ads what Ads

    I am forced to use IE at work, but don't see many ads around The Register as I have added the domains of the most annoying ones to my Hosts file, so the worst I get is a box with the Page cannot be displayed message.

    I leave text based ads vendors alone and block any with annoying flash based ones

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. blast3r

    What is Eweek thinking?

    They put a direct link to the evil site right in their article. It is clickable and takes you right to the site?! People are going to accidently click on that crap. Hasn't Eweek ever heard of just taking a screenshot of something and posting the image? Or maybe a video of it so you can see what happens? What a dingbat that journalist was.

  22. Simon B

    Yet ANOTHER reason for avoiding anything google has touched

    Why is it that everything google is involved in appears to be tainted be in tracking, spyware, spam, security issues, tracking etc etc etc? Yet ANOTHER confirmation of why I hate google.

  23. Mark

    @Simon B

    Cart before horse there, old bean.

    Double click were unadulterated scum (they didn't even have the balls to be evil, unlike Gates & Co) since practically their inception. google buying them is irrelevant. Unless all you wanted was to bash google, then that's a purpose for it. Just be a little more honest next time.

  24. W.Hower

    AdBlock is for idiots

    The blissful ignorance of Web 2.0 jockeys. Yeh, yeh, you all know how the Internet and its business models work don't you? You've been surfing for years right, and you've even written some PHP script? Experts. I knew it.


    Who pays for the websites you enjoy? What enables you to enjoy the websites you love for free? Subscription is the answer right - as WSJ, FT, NYT have discovered right?

    Bite the bullet. Lose the adverts and you lose the web.

  25. Mostor Astrakan


    "Who pays for the websites YOU ENJOY?"

    Well let me tell you Mr. Shove-Flash-Shite-Onto-Every-Page, the websites I enjoy are NOT paid for by you bunch of malware-spreading, scum sucking, privacy-violating, key logging, popunder peddling shock-the-monkey fetishists.

    Do you know what you have to do to make sure that a piece of web goes completely unnoticed? Shape it like a freaking banner ad! Web users are now so used to editing out these things mentally, that a complete collective blind spot has developed for this crap.

    Lose the adverts, lose the frikkin' websites that depend on them for funding, and what's left are the useful sites. Sounds like bliss to me.

  26. Tim

    ABP is not the only tool

    If you don't like firefox or are forced to use IE, you can use privoxy and get essentially the same thing.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ad's especially the expanding flash ads are something that can completly destroy not only a website but the layout of the site as well.

    @ W.Hower - I agree that webmaster need funds to pay for servers and what not, but the fact is obtrusive ads are going to push people away from the site thus negating the need for a server in the first place.

    Text based ads are ok! But those flash ones that expand or have annoying noises (anyone remember the fly zapper?) should instantly be taking out of the ad cycle.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    W.Hower well represents DoubleClick

    Comment from a "W.Hower" appears to be straight from DoubleClick's mature publicity staff. He represents DoubleClick very well.... QUITE mature there .... bet that's not his real name either, probably short for "Well how are YOU sucker?"

    Just stealing a few bucks with bogus ads is nothing compared to creating bankruptcy for millions. DoubleClick has been pushing sub-prime mortgages for years. This past weekend, the press predicted that the sub-prime mess may well take the US economy to depths not seen since the Great Depression. Great job, DoubleClick! Bringing advertising to the lows never seen before.

  29. Daniel B.

    Whats this ABP?

    "The alternative to ABP is simply not visiting sites that have intrusive ads."

    No. It's squid. I've been blocking annoying ads since long before Firefox was even concieved. My mom was pretty happy on her dialup connection speeding up because of this. ;)

    Oh, and squid works with any browser, which works for some of my friends that don't use IE *or* Firefox, but Opera. I don't want to block all ads though, Project Wonderful an example: they are well targeted and are one of the main webcomics revenue streams. I'm not bothered by those.

    Doubleclick, on the other hand ... well, I've had enough of "YOU ARE THE 999,999 VISITOR! YOU WON!" so any advertiser showing those will join the trashverts.acl list.

  30. Guy

    @Keith T

    Well in my defense and my fault for not mentioning, my statement about the page containing doubleclick ad's was derived from pulling up my adblock-able items window and seeing what was being blocked.

    When you see multiple it's safe to assume their are ad's from doubleclick around somewhere.

    Oh and sometimes I do surf using IE7, for some reason I quite like it, not sure why, I think because it loads in a quarter of the time it takes firefox to load up, and is able to better display a (really, really small) number of common websites I visit.

    but yes, firefox with ABP is the norm

  31. Anonymous John

    Re: AdBlock is for idiots

    I don't object to web adverts as such. But if I go out to buy a magazine, I don't have to wait while the newsagent goes next door to get the adverts. Neither does he follow me home, and stick them over whatever I'm trying to read.

    Techniques that some web advertisers think are acceptable. Not to mention the hidden close buttons that sometimes don't work.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Awwww... Is ABP hurting you? We are very sorry that you cannot push your shit down the pipes and we will stop using ABP immediately...ROFL

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hold on a sec...

    "DoubleClick... has been caught serving rogue ads designed to trick users into buying unneeded software."

    How did they tell? Isn't the purpose of marketing to trick users into buying unneeded software?

    -- Creature

  34. Morely Dotes

    ABP is not enough

    You also need the MVPS.ORG hosts file.


    The same file works on Windows, Linux, and (presumably) Macs.

  35. Morely Dotes

    @ W. Hower

    "Who pays for the websites you enjoy?"

    I do. I host my own favorite sites. Bite me.

  36. galbak

    malware adverts,

    hosts.htm works just fine on macintoshs, well, my osx-tiger g4 anyway.

  37. galbak

    malware adverts,

    is the the reason why so many blogs etc, got blacklisted recently, for malware adverts? the writers using doubleclick etc?

  38. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    In any other media...

    This is a prime example of how far online advertising has to go compared to other, more established mediums. None others, such as newspaper, radio or TV, would consider it acceptable to run an ad without carefully vetting it first. Not to mention the various industry watchdogs that keep advertisers on the straight and narrow. This industry has a lot of growing up to do!

  39. BitTwister


    > Lose the adverts and you lose the web.

    What bollocks. You *might* lose a few noisy sites which look like angry fruit salads - but they've already missed the point and deserve to be culled anyway.

  40. David

    Another @ W.Hower (or others who use web ads)

    Does your site display text only ads? Then I am going to see them if/when I visit, unless they're from the likes of doubledip or something else.

    Flash based ads, where you've blocked my ability to stop the add playing? Repeating animated gifs? Ads that cover the article I am reading? Any of those that are not already blocked are blocked as soon as I can when I read the site.

    It's simple. I am there to read an article. I am not there to watch some annoying graphic move around a small part of the screen. I never have and never will buy from anything with a moving ad. Static, even images, not a problem. Moving but able to be stopped, not a problem. Unstoppable movement? Blocked.

    Oh, and I am someone who may buy something from an ad on a webpage. Have done before. But only where the ad is one I am not annoyed with, which means it either is static, or only plays once.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Another for

    "Who pays for the websites you enjoy?"

    Er... that would be me then, wouldn't it - *I* pay for *my* network connection, you don't nor do the advertisers.

    "What enables you to enjoy the websites you love for free?"

    Er...that would be me PAYING for a network connection.

    Or have I already mentioned that?

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