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Why Even ‘Reputable’ Porn Sites May Put You At Risk For Malware

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"Why Even ‘Reputable’ Porn Sites May Put You At Risk For Malware"

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While it has long been internet common sense to be cautious on adult content sites, the BBC reports even some of the most trusted names in the online porn industry are serving malicious ads:

“The data showed that xhamster.com – listed by monitoring firm Alexa as the 46th most popular site on the internet – had malvertising on 1,067 out of 20,986 pages (5%) screened in the past 90 days[...] According to Alexa’s statistics, the average user of xhamster.com would look at 10.3 individual pages – meaning a potential 42% risk of stumbling across harmful adverts in each viewing session.

Another site, pornhub.com, was found to have dangerous advertising on 12.7% of its pages.”

The malware isn’t actually hosted by the porn sites, rather embedded ads on the sites were discovered installing harmful files without users’ knowledge. Because of the way online ad space is often bought and resold or repackaged numerous times, it’s often unclear exactly who is placing the “malvertising” — which is exactly how the people behind the ads like it.

The report continues a trend of online advertising increasingly being a method used to distribute malicious code. In fact, Cisco’s annual 2013 Security Report claimed internet users are 182 times more likely to be infected with malware by clicking on online ads than merely visiting a porn site. Although there are ad-blocking services that can help mitigate this risk, only around 10 percent of internet users actively deploy them.

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