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Wikipedia Warns of Malware Injecting Ads on Pages

The Wikimedia Foundation has issued a warning stating that if Wikipedia visitors are seeing ads on its webpages, then they are infected with malware.

As the site pointed out on Tuesday, Wikipedia is funded by more than a million donors, and will never run advertisements other than Wikipedia's typical fundraiser. Unfortunately, the company doesn't state how users are acquiring the malware or the damage that it can cause, only that injected ads are a symptom. One example Wikimedia discovered was a Google Chrome browser extension called "I want this."

"Ads injected in this manner may be confined to some sites, even just to Wikipedia, or they may show up on all sites you visit," the company said. "Browsing through a secure (HTTPS) connection (which you can automate using the HTTPS everywhere extension) may cause the ads to disappear, but will not fix the underlying problem."

"Criminals aren't shy of earning affiliate cash by injecting unwanted adverts into webpages or redirecting users to sites or search results that innocent users didn't mean to visit," Sophos stated in a separate report.

Wikimedia said that visitors should start the malware hunt by checking browser plugins and disable any add-ons and browser extensions that may be causing the problem. Naturally visitors are also recommended to use spyware/malware removal tools like Ad-Aware and Malwarebytes (or Spybot Search and Destroy).

Of course, the ad injections may not be from malware at all: it could be via the user's ISP too. "This is most likely the case with Internet cafes or 'free' wireless connections," Wikipedia said. "But rest assured: you won’t be seeing legitimate advertisements on Wikipedia. We’re here to distribute the sum of human knowledge to everyone on the planet — ad-free, forever."

  • Hellbound
    I'm glad I have adblock plus..
    Reply
  • whimseh
    Adblock.
    Reply
  • jrharbort
    It's nice to see the two above me took the time to read the article. If you're seeing ads on their website, it means you have malware. A potentially serious problem. Using an ad blocker wont fix the said problem.
    Reply
  • slicedtoad
    ^actually it likely will. Depends on the ad block and how the virus is written. It certainly won't fix the virus though, just cover up the symptom lol.
    Reply
  • shoelessinsight
    As slicedtoad said, Adblock will only mask the symptom, which could actually end up working against you if the malware has other functions besides ad injection (like stealing bank numbers). Without the relatively harmless early warning of ad injection, you may not notice the malware until it's done something much worse.
    Reply
  • Raidur
    *Adblock + Noscript* FTW. :)
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    I've got Adblock Plus but will Malwarebytes handle it, too?
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    Using the internet without Firefox and Adblock is like ordering pills off the TV without going to see the doctor - you deserve whatever side effects you get.
    Reply
  • skaz
    Exactly why I wish chrome had the legit version of noscript.
    Reply
  • amdfangirl
    shoelessinsightAs slicedtoad said, Adblock will only mask the symptom, which could actually end up working against you if the malware has other functions besides ad injection (like stealing bank numbers). Without the relatively harmless early warning of ad injection, you may not notice the malware until it's done something much worse.
    Doesn't Adblock just see something as a url that is blacklisted and block any connections from it thus blocking the ad.

    I'm sure this is how websites detect that you are indeed running Adblock.
    Reply