(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
ad blocking, ads, malware

Companies:
forbes



Forbes Site, After Begging You To Turn Off Adblocker, Serves Up A Steaming Pile Of Malware 'Ads'

from the you-have-32-registry-errors dept

We had just discussed a couple of websites, Forbes amongst them, joining the ranks of sites that were attempting to hold their content hostage over people's use of adblockers. The general point of that post was that the reason people use adblockers generally is that sites like Forbes serve up annoying, irritating, horrible ads, such that the question of whether the site's content is worth the hassle of enduring those ads becomes a legitimate one. The moment that question becomes relevant, it should be obvious that the problem is the ad inventory and not the adblocking software.

But of course that isn't the only reason that people use adblockers. The other chief impetus for them is security. Here to show us why that is so is...well...Forbes again. One security researcher discusses his attempt to read a Forbes article, complete with the request to disable his adblocking software, and the resulting malware he encountered as a result. Ironically, the Forbes article in question was its notable "30 Under 30" list, and the researcher wanted to check out the inclusion of a rather well-known security researcher.

On arrival, like a growing number of websites, Forbes asked readers to turn off ad blockers in order to view the article. After doing so, visitors were immediately served with pop-under malware, primed to infect their computers, and likely silently steal passwords, personal data and banking information. Or, as is popular worldwide with these malware "exploit kits," lock up their hard drives in exchange for Bitcoin ransom.

One researcher commented on Twitter that the situation was "ironic" -- and while it's certainly another variant of hackenfreude, ironic isn't exactly the word I'd use to describe what happened.
Vindicating might be a better word, I think. Vindication for those who insist that adblockers are not only beneficial, but may well be necessary. Necessary because, as we stated before, too much online advertising is garbage, whether that means the ads just suck, or are downright security threats. Ad networks have been a known vector for this type of malware, which can attempt to infect machines with fake antivirus software or compromise personal information from the infected machines. It's important to understand that this is neither new nor is it some small thing.
Less than a month ago, a bogus banner ad was found serving malvertising to visitors of video site DailyMotion. After discovering it, security company Malwarebytes contacted the online ad platform the bad ad was coming through, Atomx. The company blamed a "rogue" advertiser on the WWPromoter network. It was estimated the adware broadcast through DailyMotion put 128 million people at risk. To be specific, it was from the notorious malware family called "Angler Exploit Kit." Remember this name, because I'm pretty sure we're going to be getting to know it a whole lot better in 2016.

Last August, Angler struck MSN.com with -- you guessed it -- another drive-by malvertising campaign. It was the same campaign that had infected Yahoo visitors back in July (an estimated 6.9 billion visits per month, it's considered the biggest malvertising attack so far). October saw Angler targeting Daily Mail visitors through poisoned ads as well (monthly ad impressions 64.4 million). Only last month, Angler's malicious ads hit visitors to Reader's Digest (210K readers; ad impressions 1.7M). That attack sat unattended after being in the press, and was fixed only after a week of public outcry.
Insisting that users turn off their adblockers in this ecosystem is akin to refusing to allow people to tour the wing of a hospital dedicated to combatting highly infectious disease if they want to wear a bio-hazard suit. It makes no sense. "We can't confirm that our ads are safe, but we insist you not block them." Who actually wants to suggest that this stance makes sense?
What should the websites do? The ad networks clearly don't have a handle on this at all, giving us one more reason to use ad blockers. They're practically the most popular malware delivery systems on Earth, and they're making the websites they do business with into the same poisonous monster. I don't even want to think about what it all means for the security practices of the ad companies handling our tracking data or the sites we visit hosting these pathogens.
What should websites do? Well, how about they start treating their ad inventory with at least a percentage of the care with which they treat their content? After all, advertising is content, as it is consumed by the reader/viewer, so why not at least bother to make sure it's palatable? Or maybe start putting in place stricter controls to weed out the malvertising and adware? That too could be helpful.

Guess what's not anywhere on the list of things websites should do, though. If you answered "Insist that customers open themselves up to these security threats by demanding they turn off adblockers," then you win.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:01pm

    This is why instead of disabling my adblocker I stopped reading Forbes. It's not like there aren't dozens of other practically identical news outlets online.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      silverscarcat (profile), 12 Jan 2016 @ 1:33pm

      Re:

      Not to mention that there's plenty of aggregate sites out there that'll just copy things word-for-word and post it so you can read without going there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Duffy, 24 Jun 2016 @ 12:23pm

      Re:

      Me too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Trish F, 28 Jul 2016 @ 3:56am

      Re: Forbes Adblock Warning

      Same here, I stopped reading Forbes, they cant tell me how many ADS I have to watch, Google, Yahoo, CBS Marketwatch, FT plenty of other sites will let me have content with out telling me to DISABLE . Lets see who blinks first!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Sortinghat, 8 Oct 2016 @ 12:15am

        Re: Re: Forbes Adblock Warning

        Watch as they all do the same and you get invaded with corporate ads in your mind when the RFID chip becomes mandatory or you get put to death as a terrorist!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      mrdp1750, 4 Dec 2016 @ 5:44am

      Re: I agree with you

      f. them I tried firefox, then ....IE and not because I wanted to.
      but still block. I am NOT TAKING MY AD BLOCKER OFF JUST TO SEE THEIR CONTENT. F. THEM AND I WILL SEE IT SOMEWHERE ELSE. ouch. hurt your eyes. ha ha but mad

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:14pm

    If only...

    What should websites do? Well, how about they start treating their ad inventory with at least a percentage of the care with which they treat their content?


    Someone must not be reading what's getting published online lately. The grammar and spelling is downright awful. And if it's a news story you can tell the editor is not proofing the story either. It's almost as if they are in a race to publish as much coff-content-coff online as possible. If they won't proof what they publish do you think they even think about the ad source?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:16pm

    A very clear message is being sent

    Our revenue is more important than your safety.

    They throw their hands up, not our fault its the ad network.
    They ad network throw up their hands, it was a rouge how could we know.

    Perhaps maybe if contracts were negotiated with clauses allowing sites to dump networks who served up malware, the networks might try a bit harder to police the content.

    Perhaps if sites couldn't claim they had no responsibility & there was a financial penalty for allowing bad ads to continue after they were alerted.

    Imagine a clear system to report bad ads so there didn't need to be a week of public outcry to get action. Imagine sites being forced to inform viewers they hosted bad ads & direct them to run checks. People not actively blocking ads right now most likely aren't the most computer savvy people & would need direction to run a scan of their machine.

    Everyone says how horrible this is, but nothing changes. Punishing the people most likely to be harmed seems like a stupid play.

    The public can only block ads to try and stay safe and then are treated to sites refusing to allow them access unless they stop blocking... when is the last time a site who got screwed running attack ads fired the network serving them up?

    No system will ever be perfect, but there is a rapidly shrinking window before ad blocking is much more widespread. Perhaps rather than worrying about how to craft the next supercookie or track where the mouse moves should take a backseat to proactively protecting consumers rather than demanding they remain targets for the "good guys" & the "bad guys" so they can get some click thru revenue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mat (profile), 12 Jan 2016 @ 9:38am

      Re: A very clear message is being sent

      Funny fact: I -can- point to exactly one website I know of who's gone through several ad providers because of malicious/bad advertising behavior. It's why I actually trust Erfworld enough to turn off my blocker while visiting.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sortingfhat, 14 Jan 2016 @ 8:30am

      Re: A very clear message is being sent

      Most of this generation DON'T know how to use computers very well because they grew up on game machines and/or cell phones missing the computer revolution all together.

      Windows 8 and 10 is MS attempt to cater to these type of people shunning people who know how to edit and do serious daily work on PC's.

      They want PC's to be closed game machines.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:16pm

    I never read forbes. However a search took me there just this morning before this story was published. "You are using an ad blocker". You are damn right I am. I don't want malware.

    Hit the back button. Read the page from the search engine cache. That worked fine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Another Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 10:57pm

      Actually, it's easy to read an article that a Web site is trying to block access to. It's called opening the page source. If the page source uses a frameset, find the src (source) for each frame in the set and open them in turn. If, after checking all of these sources, you still cannot find the article, then don't waste time; the site isn't worth reading, anyway.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2016 @ 8:11am

        Re:

        I have seen some terrible, horrible, awful things by doing that. For instance, there was that time some site served an empty body that had embedded the entire content of the article in a series of meta tags under the head element, which presumably were to be extracted and rendered by some sort of Javascript. Obviously one of the nastier variants on the theme of enforcing visitors to turn on Javascript so they can use it to stuff ads and malware down our throats. That one might have been named bustle.com -- I don't recall for certain.

        Stuffing the content that belongs in p or div elements within the body element instead into meta tags in the head element is such horribly broken HTML design that it makes the commonplace a href="#" onClick=document.load(stupid script to unpack obfuscated URL goes here) and images that are displayed by scripts instead of img tags seem like paragons of correct HTML by comparison.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Jeremy2020 (profile), 12 Jan 2016 @ 9:53am

        Re:

        I just used my ad blocked to "block element" of the part telling me not to use an adblocker.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:18pm

    Forbes hopes we all have a short memory (from Feb. 2015):

    http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/02/pwned-in-7-seconds-hackers-use-flash-and-ie-to-target- forbes-visitors/


    And.. they'll hope it again...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:22pm

    No thanks Forbes

    I got the pop-up message from Forbes last week sometime. My re-action was to leave my blocker turned on and go to a different site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:26pm

    Always use protection

    While hardly the first well known site to serve malware, it is likely not the last. It's unethical not to protect yourself and others from these threats.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:30pm

      Re: Always use protection

      "Always use protection"

      If your trying to establish some kind of corollary between the Internet and the worlds oldest profession, please be more specific.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:45pm

        Re: Re: Always use protection

        ...If your trying to establish some kind of corollary between the Internet and the worlds oldest profession, please be more specific...

        Well I've never gotten a virus or malware from the world's oldest profession...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 2:32pm

          Re: Re: Re: Always use protection

          Yeah, farmers are usually pretty safe. Just don't use a late-model John Deere tractor.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            kevin b, 23 Jan 2017 @ 3:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Always use protection

            Farming came after Gathering... So even if we ignore the truly first 'profession' (where a good is exchanged for service), then your joke still fails....
            Hell, there were almost certainly paid masseuses before there were farmers....
            Really... The ignorant arrogance you expressed is beyond contemptible... Just pathetic really.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:58pm

        Re: Re: Always use protection

        How about "demanding visitors not use adblockers is like a prostitude demanding johns not use a condom"?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:30pm

    Fuck you. Pay me.

    This attitude is going to remain prevalent amongst websites offering up malware until there are penalties at stake for infecting visitors machines, and liabilities for proven damages.

    Without an 'incentive' that affects their bottom line, they're not going to care, or feel they have a reason to change.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sortingfhat, 14 Jan 2016 @ 8:28am

      Re:

      This is where some cases a bigger government is the solution because people have no morals now so we need a top down control on the greedy grubbers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:37pm

    Turn off my antivirus? No thank you. Your content isn't worth more than my time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:42pm

    re Forbes add block

    I don't use add blockers - but I cannot see Forbes at all as I block javascript alltogether. I notice that other sites claim that I use add blockers as well, although I do not. I also run privacy badger and Ghostery. I do NOT have flash installed.

    I am willing to tolerate adds, but I am totally unwilling to run active content from advertisers. In fact, I do not use Bing et al, as it relies on javascript to function.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Joe K, 12 Jan 2016 @ 2:18am

      Re: re Forbes add block

      possibly mangled in transit. (hopefully not too badly.)

      #!/bin/bash

      # usage: $0 url_of_forbes_article
      # Writes html document (including article content) to standard output.
      # Assumes last component of URI is a suitable title.

      title="$(basename "$1" |tr -- - ' ')"
      [ ${#@} -eq 1 ] || { echo "$0: usage: $0 url" ; exit 1 ; }
      opening="<html><head><title>${title}</title></head><body>\n"
      clo sing="</body></html>"

      wget -q -O - -- "$1" |
      grep -o '"body":"\([^"]\|\(\\["]\)\)*' |
      sed "1 s#^\"body\":\"#${opening}# ;
      s#[\]\"#\"#g ;
      s#[\]r[\]n#\\n</p>\\n<p>#g ;
      $ a\
      ${closing}
      ; "

      # 2nd and 3rd commands in sed routine do, respectively:
      # (2) replace backslash-escaped double-quotes with plain double-quotes, and
      # (3) replace \r\n sequences with adequately equivalent html markup.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:54pm

    There's your problem...

    The folks at Forbes probably didn't know what kind of ads were on their site, because they were all using Adblock to keep them out of their hair.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 1:56pm

    Except for known entities I surf with java script off, and never use Flash or Java. I don't use an ad blocker, but will disable images at times too. Who do these guys think they are, Wall Street Bankers? DOS attack in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 11 Jan 2016 @ 2:04pm

    Long ago

    I did a fresh install on a computer, and connected up with Dial up..First site was MSN..it took 15 minutes for me to gain access to the computer..I knew what had happened, and sent a NICE letter to MSN..1 year later they removed adverts..

    I suggested that Sites do 1 of 2 things...
    1. MAKE the ADVERTS themselves..
    2. Scan every 3rd party advert they will display..

    Something Iv asked for from BROWSERS...
    Remember that the data Must be sent to you, to be displayed.
    Why cant the Browser, NOTE which sites I got this Data from?? It might slow browsers down abit(insted of just Loading Crap, they have to Label it) but you could TRack this garbage back to the sender..

    Also...arnt Site liable for the data they are sending?? and if you can PROVE who sent the crap, sue..?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 11 Jan 2016 @ 2:50pm

      Re: Long ago

      Every advert should be pixels. Nothing more. Not executable code.

      Those ad pixels should arrive to the ad network in raw form. Then the ad network themselves will encode it into a more efficient form for internet transmission such as PNG, or other form.

      Even animated ads could be received as multiple still images and then encoded into efficient form by the ad network.

      Even sounds. They could arrive at the ad network in high resolution form. The ad network encodes them into some internet friendly form.

      The fact that the ad network is doing the encoding, using trusted tools, means you are not likely to find malware within the ad content sent to the user's browser.

      The ad network wants pixels. Sequences of frames. Sound that could be encoded through an analog channel which re-digitizes the sounds.

      Malvertisers would very go to a different advertising network.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Another Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 4:57pm

        Re: Re: Long ago

        The fact that the ad network is doing the encoding, using trusted tools, means you are not likely to find malware within the ad content sent to the user's browser.

        Rather a bit naive there, aren't you? What makes you think they'll use any other than the tools the ad distributors give them?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          klaus (profile), 12 Jan 2016 @ 12:00am

          Re: Re: Re: Long ago

          I think that's his whole point, that the ad network does not currently have control over content. And if it did, it would be less likely that malware would be distributed.

          Trust might be restored. Somewhat.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2016 @ 8:26am

        Re: Re: Long ago

        Fuck that. The ad network should ask for one thing from the advertiser: a 460x60 still JPEG file. No animation. No sound. And vetted to eliminate things like deceptive "download" buttons. Vetting script ads is a Turing-complete problem, but not vetting JPEGs. A quick glance from a human and click of "approve"/"disapprove" is all that's needed to validate a banner image as acceptable or not.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 2:16pm

    Can someone make a law that holds the website liable for the damages caused by rogue advertisements? Maybe then someone would actually do a safety check on the ads they allow on their sites.. After all the advertisements are different then content users post. As it stands right now, the websites don't care what ad's make it to their sites, as long as they get paid they happy..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2016 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      You mean like content providers trying to hold search engine providers responsible for links to sites serving up allegedly infringing content?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 2:43pm

    The unpopular and unstated thought is 'you are stealing our income' by not viewing ads.

    Having already run up on this malware trick before, after the painstaking efforts to clean my network of it, I then installed an adblocker and it will now stay on at all times due to a hard learned experience.

    It is not up to me to clean up the industry. However I do control my computer and its uses. I will not give up that security because someone else wants to make money. I am not a walking wallet. I further resent the stealing of my internet speed to show these eyesores, the stealing of my data without asking for datamining purposes, and the damn underhandedness of many of the advertisers.

    After long experience of dealing with questionable and down right dirty methods, it will be a cold day in hell before I ever turn it off again, even if tomorrow the ad industry claims it's gotten religion and decides to clean itself up. They've earned this response through years of on purpose abuse.

    I am still waiting for them to honor 'Do Not Track'. Since they can't do any of the things that improve my surfing experience and refuse to do the most basic I really don't care what they want as my wants are not considered. If my desires are not considered, then what they want ranks the same consideration.

    My answer is when I find this out that I have to turn off the adblocker is simply to close the site that wants this as a good bargain worth my time to move on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sortingfhat, 14 Jan 2016 @ 8:26am

      Re:

      What will happen if that is how every site becomes? Where you can't even use the internet unless ad blocker is turned off as the internet is owned by these very corporations just like the news networks.

      Very few sites will be left except Joe Doe's rants that won't require ad block turned off.

      The web is almost a corporation police state far from the 90s open era.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2016 @ 4:48pm

      Re:

      So it's ok for you to use up expensive bandwidth to surf all night and day, but when someone throws thousands of dollars at editors, writers, graphic designers, Web designers, programmers and Web hosts it's not ok for them to make $0.03 - $0.50 cents from an ad you literally have to just leave floating in the sidebar from you?

      U.S. written, high quality articles literally cost $30 - $500 each, and you think webmasters are doing you a disservice when they front the bill for your FREE entertainment? Cracked pays $150 for their articles. You like Cracked? Well, that's the quality ad revenue can buy you. Go to a bar that operates at $0 income (you'll be in someone's leaky basement). Watch YouTubers who don't have ads activated (it'll be 12 year Olds with a vertical filming iPhone 2). Or go do one of a million other things which requires $ for quality, but do it for free and see the difference. You won't find quality for free because you get what you pay for; or in this case, you dont even have to pay.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 11 Jan 2016 @ 2:45pm

    Forbes is not very good at news

    I go to the Forbes site.

    Forbes news tells me: you are using an ad blocker.

    Hey, that's not news. I know that, and it's not even recent info. What kind of news site is Forbes anyway?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 11 Jan 2016 @ 2:51pm

    Pssssst . . . I've got this really cool program you should try!

    But first you have to turn off your anti virus software.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    any moose cow word, 11 Jan 2016 @ 3:01pm

    The Blame Game

    The sites that run the ads blame the ad networks, yet they don't run any security verification on the ads that are run nor do they hold the ad network accountable for these security issues. No, the sites continue to look the other way when it comes to security, they only care about getting paid. It's the same issue with the ad networks, as they allow individual advertisers to run unverified foreign scripts on their network nor do they hold the advertiser accountable for injecting malware either.

    None of this will change until sites and networks are held accountable for their complete disregard for the security of their service and their users. Sites should only deal with ads networks that don't allow foreign code of any kind, and sign contracts that hold the networks liable for security issues created by their ads. However, this will only happen when users and regulators start mandating that sites only use secure ad networks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tracyanne, 11 Jan 2016 @ 3:07pm

    turn off Adblock

    I've just access the Forbes site using only NoScript, with only Forbes.com and Forbesimg enabled. That seems to stop all the Ads. There's a plethora of add sites script blocked.

    Now that I've done that I don't think I'll bother going back to Forbes. It's not worth the effort.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2016 @ 7:17pm

    So Forbes gets off without a visit from the Justice Department for CFAA violations? Seems to me like they got paid to deliver malware.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 11 Jan 2016 @ 7:34pm

    A real newspaper is responsible, in part, for the entirety of the content that lands on subscriber's porches, including advertising in the paper proper and inserts, at least as far as meeting community standards.

    Time for websites to be held to similar standards. Deliver malware, stand by for lawsuits. No exemptions for disclaimers in TOS or EULA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 11 Jan 2016 @ 9:03pm

    Dear Forbes

    Please take your malware infested website and suck it. We will not notice your disappearance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dr Evil, 11 Jan 2016 @ 9:33pm

    Dear forbes...

    I turned ad block off at your behest - and noted, as the malware hit, that there was no EULA or equivalent, sooooo
    my guess is that you are now liable for my damages.

    funny story..
    different computer running different OS, rhymes with SLINUX, no adblocker on, but the site STILL thinks ad blocker was on. Clicked on 'continue' and it thanked me for turning off the adblocker that wasn't there. WTF Forbes? Can't afford to get a decent programmer? Hurting so bad that you have to sell malware?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Javier bin Al Baghdadi, 12 Jan 2016 @ 3:25am

    33 Posts, and unless I'm blind...

    ...no one attempted to put for the ludicrous argument that "ad blocking is stealing content." Those who feel entitled to revenue simply because they put out something on the web must have some self-awareness of the preposterous nature of their position.

    And, it would be a position that the more enlightened among us (except for me, I will never buy that b.s.) would be less dismissive toward if someone could make a well reasoned case for it in light of the situation that Forbes seemingly finds itself in every few weeks.

    I suspect that not only they won't, but can't, make such a case against ad-blockers. Ad-blockers are not unethical. Unethical is - serving up a hot dish of malware/PUP/viruses/etc to your users after making demands that those same users turn off security software.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    drewdad (profile), 12 Jan 2016 @ 6:15am

    Firefox + Adblock + Greasemonkey + Anti-Adblock Killer = no more nonsense

    It's my effing computer, and I get to control what displays.

    My motto, stolen from @pourmecoffee: "I will ruthlessly curate my online experience to selfishly satisfy my own sensibilities and make it fun for me, period."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 12 Jan 2016 @ 7:14am

    Adblockers are the new norm.

    Even my 12 and 16 year old daughters have installed adblockers on their browser without prompting from me. More of the younger demographic is tech savvy enough to do this, and it will just continue until publishers stop abusing advertising.

    Specifically, I'm pointing at the click bait sites commonly found on Facebook with a single captioned graphic per page, surrounded by at least a dozen ads that almost take minutes to render.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Jan 2016 @ 8:46am

      Re: Adblockers are the new norm.

      It will not matter if advertising stops getting abused, people will just know to install ad blocking without giving it any more thought, even if they announced all ads were now perfectly safe. How many times did someone download WinZip even after .zip files were natively handled in windows?

      They created the method of their own destruction by inaction & indifference.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2016 @ 9:08am

    The choice

    Forbes have obviously chosen to part of the problem rather than the solution. Money sure do strange things to people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    eeyore1954 (profile), 12 Jan 2016 @ 9:37am

    Forbes

    I send a newsletter to accountants and recently I have received a comment about linking to articles in Forbes because they do not want to turn off their ad blocker software. So a little searching and I found this article. I have a some comments and questions.
    1) If someone has good anti virus (anti malware) software won't this protect them from bad ads?
    2) I go to Forbes almost every day and have never had a problem. Although sometimes the articles are slow to load and I suspect this is from ads.
    3) In my industry the articles they have are consistently very popular and well written.
    4) I don't consider them holding content for hostage. they put content there for free (unlike Wall Street Journal and a few others that require subscriptions) and expect to earn money ( and pay for the content) through ad revenue.
    5) By the same token there is nothing wrong with someone making the decision they would rather not go there than be subjected to ads and possible problems from them.
    6) They had a pretty good article on the dispute that is not overly biased. "Inside Forbes: From 'Original Sin' To Ad Blockers -- And What The Future Holds"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mat (profile), 12 Jan 2016 @ 9:46am

      Re: Forbes

      anti-malware/anti-virus is better compared to an anti-botic: what you use -after- you have the bug. Adblock is better compared to a vaccine: You never get it in the first place. Now, some antiviruses will scan your HTTP communication for known bad actors. HTTPS is a different ballgame, unless it's running a dangerous to your security man in the middle game.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sortingfhat, 14 Jan 2016 @ 8:19am

    Reasonable ads

    Ads should be kept reasonable and less then half the length of the article/video.

    Ads will be more viewed that way not by passer byes but loyal viewers.

    Ads without limits will and do take over your computer without your consent and trying to get around the law using fancy loopholes is just cowardly on their end.

    It seems being moral is bad and bad is good. Hey just like the bible said would happen in the final hours before the Trib.

    We are in the 'knocking on the door' stage with the hand on the doorknob starting to twist it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sortingfhat, 14 Jan 2016 @ 8:20am

    Reasonable ads

    BTW: Is one who gets a Techdirt account a 'dirt bag'?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    7u90790, 30 Jan 2016 @ 6:05pm

    If they want to advertise they should mention it in the story cause thats the only way its getting through.


    Ie, Today a bomb exploded on flight xyz killing 231 Americans and 13 pure bred German Shepards. Shepards are known for their uncanny ability to sniff out,consume,and shit out ordinance however as the trainer/owner John Joe Scapegoat didn't feed them Purina brand Aryan chow the deaths sadly avoidable occured. Do you want the blood of 231 Americans or worse 13 pure breeds on your hands? Use coupon code sinistermarketing and save 10% of your pets food. With savings like this, it will be seen as terrorism not to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Heart, 12 Feb 2016 @ 5:45pm

    How to get the code

    I want not visited my site with adblock adons. How can protect?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    FORBES IS RETARDED, 13 Feb 2016 @ 5:27pm

    MALWARE+

    TAKE YOUR INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE AND SHOVE IT WHERE THE SUN DONT SHINE YOU GREEDY FUCKERS. #FORBESMUSTFALL

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Useless Forbes, 24 Feb 2016 @ 2:59pm

    There's nothing good in Forbes website. They have to be happy we visit their site. They are so stupid to stop us from visiting their horrible website.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      SortingHat, 25 Feb 2016 @ 7:58am

      Re:

      Forbes mostly caters to businesses who subscribe paying yearly and don't even see what we see.

      They could care less and feel they can do what they want. If the economy wasn't BS we would be having competitors and choices but people now are *holding on* to their money instead of taking risks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SortingHat, 25 Feb 2016 @ 7:57am

    The internet is gone

    The internet as we knew it in the 90s is gone and web 2.0 is here but not what you wanted.

    The web should I say rather then calling it the internet is all commercial and it's the way globalist want it for a one world economy based on digital money using ones and zeros to control nations.

    It's basically going back to the days of kings and peasants they are trying to revive that lifestyle with no sustaining economy to keep things rolling so they BS their way thru instead.

    Having a BS economy never works well and entire nations/kingdom fold under disasters that a healthy nation could recover from with just a mild depression or in extreme cases eventually get invaded by outsiders due to not having the resources to defend themselves.

    Our economy is a ticking time bomb and they just lengthen the fuse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SortingHat, 25 Feb 2016 @ 8:00am

    The internet is gone

    Why does the register page not send the email? I wanted to be a *dirt bag* but I am not able to have an account.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Onnasinkinship, 29 Feb 2016 @ 8:14am

    Forbes gives me no realistic option but to skip it

    bye bye Forbes from my reading list

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew S, 29 Feb 2016 @ 4:19pm

    Forbes has even screwed their paying subscribers.

    I've subscibed to Forbes magazine, print version uninterrupted for at least 15 Years. Like many folks its easier for me to read online while on the road. In thus latest baffling move, Forbes.com has left no way whatsoever for even its paying print members to access the .com site, unless we acquiesce to their idiotic and dangerous anti ad-blocking stance.
    No way to get into the archives, no way to read this month's, nothing! After this year's finished, I will no longer renew unless they change their position.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shane, 5 Mar 2016 @ 10:34pm

    Even if ads were ads and not malware

    I wouldnt turn off my adblocker to view your content. I just found out that this even existed after googling something and then trying to click on a forbes link. I found this EXTREMELY INSULTING, and quite frankly this is also very disturbing. If forbes is going to do it, whats going to stop youtube, facebook, or other sites I actually frequent from doing it?

    Getting someone who is not computer savy to use adblock is hard enough without me physically being at their computer and installing it for them. Throwing in various scenarios where they are locked out of a major website because of adblock would be a big blow to the war against commercials and ad spam.

    I hope to christ that whenever someone sees this wall, they never return to that POS site and their content views takes a noticeable hit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    josh, 14 Mar 2016 @ 9:57pm

    past the wall with an attack

    i know this is old topic if you want a fast way to check a link or something on forbes open three-four tabs. the 3rd or 4th tab will load with no ads i found this just trying to find a way past this annoying thing. but so are ads

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    None Ya, 15 Mar 2016 @ 6:58pm

    If you want to circumvent Forbes.com's stupid ad block removal attempt, stick some invalid JSON in their "global_ad_params" cookie like so: (BORK!)
    document.cookie = 'global_ad_params={BORK!%22ab%22:{%22value%22:%22off%22%2C%22expiration%22:1456810565900}}; expires=2016-01-31T06:00:00:000Z; domain=.forbes.com; path=/';
    Click the "Continue to Site" button once, and got the following javascript error in the console: (see the second screenshot)
    Click the "Continue to Site" button again, and BAM! ad-blocking-blocking-blocked: (see the third screenshot)
    NOTE: This has only been tested in Chrome, and sometimes breaking that cookie breaks the site, and you have to fix the cookie to continue browsing, like so:
    document.cookie = 'global_ad_params={%22ab%22:{%22value%22:%22off%22%2C%22expiration%22:1456810565900}}; expires=2016-01-31T06:00:00:000Z; domain=.forbes.com; path=/';

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nefarious, 17 Mar 2016 @ 5:38am

    Home use Anti [Virus, Spyware and Malware] are reactive not proactive. Meaning: They only work when they KNOW about a type of Virus, Spyware, or Malware. All these consumer products do is look for heuristics that -like or -match a specific database entry. If your protective software does not know about it, you are screwed anyways. With Frankenmalware [google it], good luck finding that code to block and execute. True proactive Virus, Spyware and Malware protection will cost the average user a lot more (thousands more), and really is not cost effective right now. You can stop a lot of the damaging effects of malware/viruses/spyware if you use a BASIC USER account with limited privileges rather then logging in to your home computer with Admin rights for daily computer use, also for Windows users, keep UAC on ffs. Is it annoying hell yes, but at least it lets you know when a process is trying to use elevated rights instead of just executing blindly in the background.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nefarious, 17 Mar 2016 @ 5:43am

    ...and Forbes can suck it and then go DIAF.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ian Cooper, 8 Apr 2016 @ 9:24am

    I use ad blocker, so I don't see Forbes' ads, nor do I see Forbes' content. Oh dear, what a shame, never mind.

    The folks at Forbes are cutting their own throats with their decision to restrict their content in this way. I can happily visit other sites and find similar content. I think Forbes needs to realize that they are not the only game in town, and in a competitive marketplace, they need to work to find a larger audience. Keeping content restricted from those who prefer not to see advertising is not the way to do it. If I ever was likely to be in the market for Forbes' product, all this does is alienate me further, since it sends the message that all they're selling is ad space. If they continue this exercise in self-strangulation, I give the company ten years before it goes belly-up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tracker1 (profile), 8 Apr 2016 @ 10:59am

    Class Action Lawsuit

    I'm not sure why one of these big sites haven't been hit with a class action lawsuit... the website is responsible for the content it delivers... period. Especially when they force users to disable their ad blockers.

    It seems to me, that someone who got an $xxx ransomware, or paid the nerd herd to remove malware from their computers could be the base of a class action lawsuit... That's what it will take to get this crap to change is to actually hold one of these larger media sites responsible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2016 @ 12:02pm

      Re: Class Action Lawsuit

      Because they shouldn't be liable for 3rd party content. They are just selling space on their site. The ad company is probably reselling those slots. And if you want to jump down that rabbit hole, I'll hold your hat for you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        MAC, 13 Feb 2017 @ 10:24am

        Re: Re: Class Action Lawsuit

        And the guards at the concentration camps were not responsible either, they were just 'following orders...'

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 9 Apr 2016 @ 3:49pm

    Bringing this story back from the dead...

    The advertisements aren't "3rd party content".

    Forbes would certainly like to disclaim all liability for their selected advertising network, but that doesn't make them a 3rd party. They are a "jointly liable party".

    The advertisements are structured as part of the Forbes website. Forbes is insisting that they be received as part of viewing the stories. Forbes contracting out the sales of advertisement and failing to review the contents doesn't make them unrelated -- it just means that they abdicated their responsibility. An industry standard of abdicating responsibility doesn't transform the practice into reasonable behavior.

    To use a tradition magazine analogy, Forbes sent out a magazine with poisoned ink and child pornography. They don't get to pass all responsibility onto the chemical company and photographer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bozard charlie, 3 May 2016 @ 5:13pm

    I love to block these fuckers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TheManFromTaco, 19 May 2016 @ 9:49am

    I don't even use an adblocker!

    Yeah, so Forbes and a couple other sites keep giving me that annoying message about how they don't like my adblocker.

    But the thing is.... I don't even have an adblocker!!! What on earth is the deal here??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    magusat999 (profile), 2 Jul 2016 @ 9:26am

    I was appalled when I first tried to enter Forbes website and that arrogant message came up. I just didn't go back- just went to Huffington Post which has the same news as they do anyway (or a hundred other sources). Site like theirs need to get over themselves - the biggest news provider is Google, and unless you can shut them down, all of these sites are of minimal value. When I want to know something, 9 times out of 9 I start with a Google search. If I arrive at Forbes it's because Google sent me there. It's much easier to just add "-Forbes" to a Google search than to screw around with Forbes and what they want people to do to get money out of them.

    I feel no sympathy for these companies so desperately trying to commercialize and monetize the internet. That isn't what the internet was created for. It is supposed to be a public meeting space, not another cog in your profit machine - so if you don't like it, screw you and your ads.

    What further discusts me is when I see what they really want our experience to be like. If you dont know what I mean - think about using the internet on your smartphone, where there aren't any adblockers (well maybe there are now, I'm about to make a check on that because a few months ago I couldn't find any). These site are INSANE, it's like the 1990's before the tech bust all over again. You can't read an article for all the freaking ads. I don't think that is in line with what people want, and I'll be damned if I don't do something so I can browse in peace. If they want to make money, how about a new idea? SELL SOMETHING PEOPLE WANT - and stop with the unscrupulous and mostly dangerous ads, mostly with no accountability and no consideration of safety (and decency, as sometimes the ads are on the x-rated side).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jlooo, 8 Jul 2016 @ 3:42pm

    maybe start filing lawsuits against these malicious ad companies? you know, because what they're doing is illegal? i mean they know exactly who is doing this but nobody is taking any action

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zinc, 11 Jul 2016 @ 11:32pm

    Don't let the door hit you in the a** on the way out

    Around here, ad-site blocking is done directly in the router. NOBODY gets that stuff, and the end users have no choice, because they've no control over the ad blocking. Forbes can take a hike.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SusannahK, 5 Aug 2016 @ 11:07am

    The likes of Forbes can go whistle dixie as far as I'm concerned.

    The minute I enter a site demanding I turn off an adblocker, I immediately leave, knowing full well sites like that contain absolutely nothing I can't read or find elsewhere - and without the irritating ads and malicious malware/spyware, too.

    And since when did the advertising industry decide they have the right to intrude upon our lives and harass us with rubbish? They can go whistle dixie, too - with a snorkel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sortinghat, 8 Oct 2016 @ 12:14am

      Re:

      Move over phone fans! The think pad is the next big thing! You don't need a computer OR a smartphone.

      Just plug the think pad to your thoughts and feel the calming feeling as you choose what moods you want *despite the fact you may not actually control the switch from a faraway server*.

      Imagine big corporate ads IN YOUR OWN MIND! The wonder of product X that you suddenly are given the feeling of needing and after you buy it you wonder what to do with it!

      The power of the corporate dollar knows no limits no boundaries and will even invade your sleep!

      Want to count sheep? Too bad those sheep have dollar signs on them!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sortinghat, 8 Oct 2016 @ 12:11am

    Corporations vs individuals

    The war between big corporation and individuals have increased since they discovered facebook while a lot of us who knew how to operate computers used the web back to the early 90s in the BB days a lot of big corporations didn't know jack about how to turn ON a computer.

    Now the sons of these billionaires have taught them how to operate facebook and social media which is technically the *light weight* version of the web or a slice of the bread.

    These corporations though only know that much so are busy controlling it for profit and are profiteering whatever means necessary both legal and illegal methods.

    They will be *creative* at getting around laws and pay almost ZERO tax revenue while small individuals and businesses are getting spanked by big brother.

    Get your survival equipment now and prepare to bug out. This election is America's last stand against big business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Weehaww, 8 Oct 2016 @ 3:25pm

    Average consumer

    Honestly when these sites ask me to turn off ad-blocker and block me from using their site at all, I can't be fucked to toggle off my ad-blocker, so I just click off their site and go somewhere else. If you give me two choices and they are both inconvenient (ads or blocked from viewing) you can rightfully fuck off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nancy gomez, 29 Oct 2016 @ 5:51am

    Ad blocker Should Not Be Used

    I am not in the favor of ad blockers.Webmasters need money to keep their sites running.If we will use ad blockers, how they will earn money? I urge webmasters to use minimum advertisement like single pop up and max three banner ads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jOE, 3 Nov 2016 @ 12:27am

    lol

    cumdumpSTER

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Arthur Leblanc, 21 Nov 2016 @ 5:54pm

    Ad Blocker

    I just want to get rid of this damm MF Ad Blocker

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nick, 9 Dec 2016 @ 11:20am

    Whenever people whinge along the lines of "how do you expect people to pay for their hosted content" I would say, stop posting such large quantities of garbage and your hosting bill will be much smaller and affordable. I remember when it used to be easy to find real content and real journalism on the internet. aka. the good old days, where incidentally there were very few ads and ad blockers had not been invented yet. People even paid for subscriptions back then, EVEN FOR PORN.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Prince Serendip (profile), 31 Dec 2016 @ 6:46pm

    Advertising Online

    Over ten years ago I had proof of the primary source of all viruses and lots of malware online. No one would listen. Now everyone has encountered malvertising. If you want to increase your total security for free just go to my website and check the Blog for an article titled "Addons Means AdsOff." Gets rid of all ads. I am a published computer security author as well, and a former MVP (4 years). Is there anyway that I could send a message to the web sites that block people using adblockers, to inform them that they will be blocked and blacklisted as long as they are not paying me/us to show me/us their ads. It's MY computer. If they want their ads on it, they can pay for it. Just an idea. Probably won't catch on. Maybe users should start presenting web sites with EULAs so we can sue their sorry heinies when we get dirty by visiting their sites. :D

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Marcus, 9 Jan 2017 @ 4:06am

    Why should I make my computer vulnerable for their site

    I think it is ridiculous to ask someone to turn off their ad blocker in order to view a sites content. You are entrusting your system to the website author assuming that they have viewed these ads for malicious code. Even legitimate sites are vulnerable to scripting attacks that could infect the computers of anyone visiting their sites through drive-by-downloads. In addition, video animation chokes up a persons precious bandwidth and a lot of companies offer as slow of an internet speed as 1.5 Mbps and these customers have no better options. These ads make it take 10 minutes or longer for a webpage to load to the point that they can read it. If I get a message to disable my adblock, I leave the site. No information is important enough to render my system vulnerable to attack.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris, 16 Jan 2017 @ 11:52am

    Adblock and Adblock Pro never go off.... Ever.

    It's ridiculous that they ask. When I first started using the internet 17 years ago or so there were some popup ads if you went to the wrong place, but they were NEVER like they are now. Like the writer above states, Adblock programs are a MUST. Using Google Chrome, and Windows' 10 built-in Defender program, I haven't had a virus, malware, or any other BS in 2 years. I still download the same things I always did, and look at the same things I always have, and I don't have problems.

    The rest of my family who are NOT very computer literate however, constantly have problems with malware and virus's, and even the dreaded Ransomware. My mother on her work laptop has had ransomware take hold of her computer on TWO occasions in the last few months.

    And the funniest part is the bank's IT guy refuses to let her use Google Chrome and Adblock + Adblock Pro because supposedly the ancient microsoft Internet Explorer is "more secure" even though it's the same browser that has repeatedly put their banks' security at risk. That's another thing, these so called professional IT guys just blow my mind with their ineptness, though I guess that's a whole other conversation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    any, 28 Jan 2017 @ 3:11pm

    they blow

    fuck forbees man

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    lalalalala, 30 Mar 2017 @ 4:44am

    lalalalal

    Yeah its like that on tons of news sites now, god damn annoying, i usually just close the page and find another source for the same story.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    fg, 24 Apr 2017 @ 8:37am

    asdf

    Lets all just not go on their shit site. They will turn that shit off one day

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    monica moore, 18 Jun 2017 @ 3:53am

    Heart filled with joy shearing this to this forum. I was so wrecked that my company fired me simply because i did not obliged to their terms, so they hacked into my system and phone and makes it so difficult to get any other job, i did all i could but things kept getting worse by the day that i couldn’t afford my 3 kids fees and pay my bills. I owe so many people trying to borrow money to survive because my old company couldn’t allow me get another job and they did all they could to destroy my life just for declining to be among their evil deeds. haven’t given up i kept searching for job online when i came across the testimony of a lady called Judith regarding how she got the blank ATM card. Due to my present state, i had to get in touch with Hacker called Bernard Lucas. email: bernardlucasworld88@hotmail.com and he told me the procedures and along with the terms which i agreed to abide and i was told that the Blank card will be deliver to me without any further delay and i hold on to his words and to my greatest surprise, i received an ATM card worth $5000 Daily withdraw for 12 months.i immediately confirmed it, it is 100% real and work. All Thanks to Bernard Lucas, if you are facing any financial problem contact him asap. Email: bernardlucasworld88@hotmail.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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