I had a lengthy appointment with a client yesterday. They had a fake anti-virus scam pop up that took over their computer. They panicked in the moment over several days — did not call me (big mistake) — and gave the scam outfit (without even knowing the company name or location) $900 in Apple gift cards purchased from local pharmacies. There is a lot to this story that I won’t get into here but…..
It is very likely that it all started when reading an article on Yahoo News. A bad ad injected scripts into their browser which triggered downloads and other things. Yahoo may not have screened the ad carefully or the ad may have been provided by a 3rd party. The client’s guard was down, in part because, the ad blocker was turned off.
One may say — well I didn’t click the ad! It doesn’t matter. The mere fact that a malicious ad loads in the first place is the vector for attack.
I am fairly certain that I have installed ad blockers in your browsers. On Safari for the Mac, I prefer Ad Block Plus (with acceptable ads turned off). On Chrome or Firefox, I like uBlock Origin (ideally) or Ad Block Plus (with acceptable ads turned off). It is always good to have multiple browsers available for use on your computer should Browser A get corrupted.
Some content providers, increasingly, want you to turn off an ad blocker temporarily. I have had to do this when watching TV episodes on NBC.com. A few years back Yahoo said they were not going to let you use Yahoo Mail in the web browser if you blocked ads. They seem to have backtracked a bit.
My client’s experience was not the first time I have come across a bad ad injected through a Yahoo.com page.
Bottom line: DO NOT EVER EVER TURN THE AD BLOCKER OFF ON A YAHOO.COM PAGE. If they say you can’t use the page otherwise, accept it and move on. You can still access your Yahoo Mail on a smartphone or on the computer via an e-mail program like Apple Mail, Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.
If you see ads on Yahoo.com, it means your ad blocker is not installed or not working.