The Economist has warned that visitors to its websites might have become infected with malware after the anti-adblocker service it was running was cracked.
The PageFair network – whose slogan is “reclaim your adblocked revenue” – claims that it can help users “measure how many visitors block your ads and unlock revenue with non-intrusive ads just for your adblockers”.
The Economist admits that it was signed up to the service, but warns that for two hours at the end of October and beginning of November, the PageFair network was cracked and potentially serving up malware to users’ customers’ PCs.
“If you visited Economist.com at any time between 31 Oct, 23:52 GMT and 01:15 GMT, 1 Nov, using Windows and you do not have trusted anti-virus software installed, it is possible that malware, disguised as an Adobe update, was downloaded onto your PC,” warned the publisher.
It is unclear how plausible the “Adobe” update was and The Economist doesn’t reveal either the genre or name of the malware that the attackers tried to serve up to its readers. Recent weeks, furthermore, has seen multiple patches for Adobe Flash and Reader issued after repeated security flaws have been highlighted by security specialists.
The warning, Furthermore, recommended that users change all their passwords, check their bank and credit card statements “for unusual activity” and conduct an anti-virus software scan, as well as running a Malwarebytes scan.
PageFair’s website claims that it is also used by Forbes, The Guardian, the New York Times, Quartz and ComputerWorld.