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Advertising

Inside the Booming, Unhinged, and Dangerous Malvertising Menace 235

mask.of.sanity writes: The Register has a feature on the online malicious advertising (malvertising) menace that has become an explosively potent threat to end-user security on the internet. Experts say advertising networks and exchanges need to vet their customers, and publishers need to vet the third party content they display. Users should also consider script and ad blockers in the interim. From the article: "Ads as an attack vector was identified in 2007 when security responders began receiving reports of malware hitting user machines as victims viewed online advertisements. By year's end William Salusky of the SANS Internet Storms Centre had concocted a name for the attacks. Since then malvertising has exploded. This year it increased by more than 260 percent on the previous year, with some 450,000 malicious ads reported in the first six months alone, according to numbers by RiskIQ. Last year, security firm Cyphort found a 300 percent increase in malvertising. In 2013, the Online Trust Alliance logged a more than 200 percent increase in malvertising incidents compared to 2012, serving some 12.4 billion malvertisement impressions."
AT&T

AT&T Hotspots Now Injecting Ads 179

An anonymous reader writes: Computer scientist Jonathan Mayer did some investigating after seeing some unexpected ads while he browsed the web at an airport (Stanford hawking jewelry? The FCC selling shoes?). He found that AT&T's public Wi-Fi hotspot was messing with HTTP traffic, injecting advertisements using a service called RaGaPa. As an HTML pages loads over HTTP, the hotspot adds an advertising stylesheet, injects a simple advertisement image (as a backup), and then injects two scripts that control the loading and display of advertising content. Mayer writes, "AT&T has an (understandable) incentive to seek consumer-side income from its free Wi-Fi service, but this model of advertising injection is particularly unsavory. Among other drawbacks: It exposes much of the user's browsing activity to an undisclosed and untrusted business. It clutters the user's web browsing experience. It tarnishes carefully crafted online brands and content, especially because the ads are not clearly marked as part of the hotspot service.3 And it introduces security and breakage risks, since website developers generally don't plan for extra scripts and layout elements."
Advertising

Why Google Wants To Sell You a Wi-Fi Router 198

lpress writes: Last quarter, Google made $16 billion on advertising and $1.7 billion on "other sales." I don't know how "other sales" breaks down, but a chunk of that is hardware devices like the Pixel Chromebook, Chromecast, Next thermostat, Nexus phone and, now, WiFi routers. Does the world need another $200 home router? Why would Google bother? I can think of a couple of strategic reasons — they hope it will become a home-automation hub (competing with the Amazon Echo) and it will enable them to dynamically configure and upgrade your home or small office network for improved performance (hence more ads).
Advertising

Amazon To Stop Accepting Flash Ads 220

An anonymous reader writes: Starting on September 1, Amazon will no longer support Flash across its advertising platform. The online retailer sites changes to browser support and a desire for customers to have a better experience as their reasons for blocking it. Google has been quite active recently in efforts to kill Flash; the Chrome beta channel has begun automatically pausing Flash, Google has converted ads from Flash to HTML5, and YouTube uses HTML5 by default now as well. Safari and Firefox also place limits on Flash content. Is Flash finally on its way out?
Advertising

New Rules Say UK Video Bloggers Must Be Clearer About Paid Endorsements 36

AmiMoJo writes: New guidelines for video bloggers who enter marketing relationships with brands have been published. Earlier this year the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that paid endorsements for Oreo biscuits on YouTube were not marked clearly enough. The new rules outline several scenarios where content must be clearly marked as an advertisement. One note from the linked article: However, the guidelines noted that when free items are sent to vloggers without any editorial or content control over videos exerted by the brand in question, there is no need for them to follow the Cap code.
Google

Google's Project Sunroof Tells You How Well Solar Would Work On Your Roof 105

An anonymous reader writes: Google's Project Sunroof aims to make the task of installing solar panels easier by providing financial advice and stats on what solar energy could do for you. The project is only available in San Francisco, Boston, and Fresno for now. Techcrunch reports: "To get started, you simply plug in your address and some data about your monthly electricity bill, and the tool will tell you what the recommended solar installation size is and how much it would cost to buy or lease the hardware. In case you want to go ahead with a solar install, the tool also lets you reach out to local solar providers. Google says these listings are sponsored, so chances are it'll get a bit of a kickback when it generates a sales lead for these companies."
Advertising

Will Ad Blockers Kill the Digital Media Industry? 519

HughPickens.com writes: Michael Rosenwald writes at the Columbia Journalism Review that global online ad revenue continues to rise, reaching nearly $180 billion last year. But analysts say the rise of ad blocking threatens the entire industry—the free sites that rely exclusively on ads, as well as the paywalled outlets that rely on ads to compensate for the vast majority of internet users who refuse to pay for news. A new report from Adobe and one of several startups helping publishers fight ad blocking shows that 198 million people globally are now blocking ads, up 41 percent from 2014. In the US, ad blocking grew 48 percent from last year, to 45 million users. "Taken together, ad blockers are hitting publishers in their digital guts," writes Rosenwald. "Adobe says that $21.8 billion in global ad revenue will be blocked this year."

Publishers have been banking on the growth of mobile, where the ad blocking plugins either don't work or are cumbersome to install. A Wells Fargo analyst wrote in a report on ad blocking that "the mobile migration should thwart some of the growth" of ad blockers. But Apple recently revealed that its new operating system scheduled for release this fall will allow ad blocking on Safari. Apple is trying to pull iPhone and iPad users off the web. It wants you to read, watch, search, and listen in its Apple-certified walled gardens known as apps. It makes apps, it approves apps, and it profits from apps. But, for its plan to work, the company will need those entertainers and publishers to funnel their content to where Apple wants it to be. As the company makes strategic moves to devalue the web in favor of apps, those content creators dependent on ads to stay afloat may be forced to play along with Apple. Adblock Plus has released a browser for mobile Android devices that blocks ads, and it's planning to release a similar product for Apple devices. "The desire to figure out how to bring ad blocking to mobile consumers is a worldwide phenomenon," says Roi Carthy Ad blocking, he says, "is an inalienable right."
Advertising

Study: Ad Blocker Use Jumps 41 Percent 528

Mickeycaskill writes: A report from Adobe and anti-ad blocking startup PageFair says the number of ad block users worldwide has increased by 41 percent in the past 12 months to 198 million monthly active users. The study suggests the growing popularity of ad blocking software is set to cost online publishers $21.8 billion in 2015 and could reach $41.4 billion by 2016. "About 45 million of them are in the United States, with almost 15 percent of people in states like New York and California relying on these services. The figures are even higher in Europe, where 77 million people use versions of the software. In Poland, more than a third of people regularly block online ads."
Software

How To Make Money As an Independent Developer 56

itwbennett writes: A new survey of 13,000 developers in 149 countries by U.K.-based research company VisionMobile compared, among other things, the most popular versus the most lucrative revenue models for four groups of developers: those focusing on mobile apps, cloud services, the Internet of Things, and desktop apps. Among their findings for mobile developers: While advertising is by far the most popular revenue model, only 17% of developers who rely primarily on advertising make more than $10,000 per month from their apps. By comparison, 37% of those who make their money by e-commerce (selling real-world goods and services) make $10k per month or more.
Yahoo!

Hackers Exploit Adobe Flash Vulnerability In Yahoo Ads 77

vivaoporto notes a report that a group of hackers have used online ad networks to distribute malware over several of Yahoo's websites. The attack began on Tuesday, July 28, and was shut down on Monday, August 3. It was targeted at Yahoo's sports, finance, gaming, and news-related sites. Security firm Malwarebytes says the hackers exploited a Flash vulnerability to redirect users to the Angler Exploit Kit. "Attacks on advertising networks have been on the rise ... researchers say. Hackers are able to use the advertising networks themselves, built for targeting specific demographics of Internet users, to find vulnerable machines. While Yahoo acknowledged the attack, the company said that it was not nearly as big as Malwarebytes had portrayed it to be."
The Internet

EFF Coalition Announces New 'Do Not Track' Standard For Web Browsing 75

An anonymous reader writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation, privacy company Disconnect, and several other organizations are publishing a new DNT standard. Partners in the coalition include: publishing site Medium, analytics service Mixpanel, AdBlock, and private search engine DuckDuckGo. Thought it's still a voluntary policy, the EFF hopes the new proposed standard will provide users better privacy online. "We are greatly pleased that so many important Web services are committed to this powerful new implementation of Do Not Track, giving their users a clear opt-out from stealthy online tracking and the exploitation of their reading history," said EFF Chief Computer Scientist Peter Eckersley. "These companies understand that clear and fair practices around analytics and advertising are essential not only for privacy but for the future of online commerce."
Privacy

Ask Slashdot: Can You Disable Windows 10's Privacy-Invading Features? 492

An anonymous reader writes: I really want to upgrade to Windows 10, but have begun seeing stories come out about the new Terms and how they affect your privacy. It looks like the default Windows 10 system puts copies of your data out on the "cloud", gives your passwords out, and targets advertising to you. The main reason I am looking to upgrade is that Bitlocker is not available on Windows 7 Pro, but is on Windows 10 Pro, and Microsoft no longer offers Anytime Upgrades to Windows 7 Ultimate. However, I don't want to give away my privacy for security. The other option is to wait until October to see what the Windows 10 Enterprise version offers, but it may not be available through retail. Are the privacy minded Slashdot readers not going with Windows 10?

For reference, I am referring to these articles.
(Not to mention claims that it steals your bandwidth.)
Advertising

Advertising Companies Accused of Deliberately Slowing Page-load Times For Profit 394

An anonymous reader writes: An industry insider has told Business Insider of his conviction that ad-serving companies deliberately prolong the 'auctioning' process for ad spots when a web-page loads. They do this to maximize revenue by allowing automated 'late-comers' to participate beyond the 100ms limit placed on the decision-making process. The unnamed source, a principal engineer at a global news company (whose identity and credentials were confirmed by Business Insider), concluded with the comment: "My entire team of devs and testers mostly used Adblock when developing sites, just because it was so painful otherwise." Publishers use 'daisy-chaining' to solicit bids from the most profitable placement providers down to the 'B-list' placements, and the longer the process is run, the more likely that the web-page will be shown with profitable advertising in place.
Android

Razer Acquires Ouya's Storefront and Technical Team 91

An anonymous reader writes: The Ouya Android-based gaming console was one of Kickstarter's biggest successes — and one of the biggest letdowns for all the backers. The console never really took off, and the company behind it has limped along over the past couple years. Until today. Razer has now acquired the Ouya technical team, as well as their online storefront — but not the console hardware itself. Razer intends to dump of all these new resources into its Forge TV product, also an Android game console. "Razer went so far as to kick a little sand in the face of the little-console-that-couldn't—by advertising its own Forge microconsole as a 'more advanced' system and telling Ouya owners that they will receive 'a clear path of migration' to buy the company's current $100, AndroidTV-compatible box." The fate of Ouya's hardware is not explicitly mentioned, but the news article suggests it is simply "discontinued."
Advertising

Google Studies How Bad Interstitials Are On Mobile 259

An anonymous reader writes: A Google study of their own Google+ site and app found that 69% of visitors abandoned the page when presented with the app interstitial. Google said it was getting rid of them and asked others to do the same. TechCrunch reports: "It's worth noting that Google's study was small scale, since the company was only looking at how an interstitial promoting the Google+ social service native app performed (and we don't know how many people it surveyed). It may very well be the case that visitors really didn't want the Google+ app specifically — and that Google+ itself is skewing the data. (Sadly Google is not offering comparative stats with, say, the Gmail app interstitial, so we can but speculate.)"
The Almighty Buck

Apple and Nike Settle FuelBand Lawsuit 14

An anonymous reader writes: Nike and co-defendant Apple have reached an agreement to settle a class action suit that alleged false advertising from the two companies indicating that the FuelBand fitness watch had capabilities to track health. The two companies agreed that Nike would pay $2.4 million out to customers who purchased a FuelBand between January 19, 2012 and June 17, 2015. Apple was a co-defendant in the case, but only Nike has been found liable for falsely advertising the wristband.
Advertising

Smartphone Apps Fraudulently Collecting Revenue From Invisible Ads 129

JoeyRox writes: Thousands of mobile applications are downloading ads that are never presented to users but which collected an estimated $850 million in fraudulent revenue from advertisers per year. The downloading of these invisible ads can slow down users' phones and consume up to 2GB of bandwidth per day. Forensiq, an online technology firm fighting fraud for advertisers, found over 5,000 apps displayed unseen ads on both Apple and Android devices. "The sheer amount of activity generated by apps with fake ads was what initially exposed the scam. Forensiq noticed that some apps were calling up ads at such a high frequency that the intended audience couldn't possibly be actual humans."
Facebook

New Facebook Video Controls Let You Limit Viewing By Gender and Age 90

Mark Wilson writes: Videos on Facebook are big business. As well as drugged up post-dentist footage, there is also huge advertising potential. Now Facebook has announced a new set of options for video publishers — including the ability to limit who is able to see videos based on their age and gender. A social network might not be the first place you would think of to try to keep something private, but a new 'secret video' option makes it possible to restrict access to those people who have a direct link. Other new options include the ability to prevent embedding on other sites, but it is the audience restriction settings that are particularly interesting. For a long time Facebook has been about reaching out to as many people as possible in one hit — particularly in the case of pages, which are likely to be used for the promotion of businesses and services. But now the social giant provides tools to limit one's audience. It's fairly easy to understand the reasons for implementing age restrictions on video (although there is obviously scope for abuse), but the reasons for gender-based restrictions are less clear.
Advertising

FTC Accuses LifeLock of False Advertising Again 54

An anonymous reader writes: You may remember LifeLock — it's the identity protection company whose CEO published his social security number and dared people to steal his identity. Predictably, 13 different people succeeded. LifeLock was later sued for deceptive marketing practices, and eventually settled with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to the tune of $12 million. Part of that settlement, of course, required that they refrain from misrepresenting their services in the future. Now, the FTC is taking action against them again, saying they failed to live up to that promise. The FTC claims (PDF) LifeLock falsely advertised that it "protected consumers' sensitive data with the same high-level safeguards as financial institutions" and also failed build systems to protect the data they held.
The Courts

Class Action Filed Against Sling Media 112

New submitter DewDude writes: In case you missed it; Sling Media has been forcing advertisements into video streams from Slingbox devices unless you pay for a client application, which is only an option for Apple, Android, and Windows 8 devices. The issue will now head to the courts, as two plaintiffs have filed a class action suit against Sling Media, claiming the company participated in 'bait-and-switch' tactics by charging users for the hardware, then monetizing the streaming of content. The suit notes that Sling does not own the rights to the programming into which they are inserting advertisements.