Online fraudsters outfoxed the digital advertising department of the New York Times and slipped in a malicious advert for some bogus antivirus software onto its website, the news company reported on Monday.
The news website has cautioned its readers of scam adverts after receiving several emails from concerned readers complaining about anomalies.
“Some NYTimes.com readers have seen a pop-up box warning them about a virus and directing them to a site that claims to offer antivirus software”, a post on the website of the New York Times reads.
Initially, the scammers masqueraded as internet phone provider Vonage, and placed what seemed to be authentic Vonage adverts on the website.
Subsequently, they replaced these adverts with aggressive pop-ups that attempted to trick users into thinking that their PCs were infested by some malware content.
When complaints about the reported ad started emerging, the newspaper first though that the ad had been unauthorised and removed all third party ads from the website.
But spokeswoman Diane McNulty on Monday confirmed that the malicious ad had been submitted directly to the newspaper’s online ad department.
The company said it is working on to prevent this problem from recurring, and warned its readers not to click onto the ad to avoid any awful consequences later.
Oh well, these problems can and do happen. The NYTimes needs to be more careful about how it rolls out advertising in the future as it could have been significantly worse. Not only the trust that viewers have in the publisher could have suffered a blow but the advertisers as well could be flummoxed.
(The New York Times)