A client of mine ran into an odd event last week: the computer seemed to be infected either with a virus or with an anti-virus program which wouldn’t shut up.
After looking at it a bit, I had to shut down the web browser, and though I couldn’t find any malware, I made sure her workspace was over at a non-admin account.
Now today, I find that reputable websites (that is, if mlb.com and canada.com are reputable) are serving advertisements from doubleclick — and those ads are the culprit. This youtube video shows what happens.
What can you do? Well, we are now in the age of cross-site web programming, wherein almost all websites are assembled together on the web browser to create one’s internet experience. You have to assume that even responsible websites will be using scripts, videos, or widgets from other sites. And you also have to assume that they won’t catch everything. So: you have to practice safe browsing, now more than ever. This means one thing, above all:
Don’t browse the web when you’re using your computer in a profile or account which can make widespread changes on your machine. (These are usually called “administrative” accounts.)
If you do, well, you’ll be paying someone to clean up your machine sometime soon.