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ripley
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Message 1 of 8

WebAdvisor Flagging Up All Sorts

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Hello

Since yesterday WebAdvisor has been flagging up quite a few websites I have never seen it flag before and blocking unsafe material. They are websites I would not consider dodgy (including large retail places like Marks & Spencer).

Flag.JPG

Just a glitch or should I genuinely be concerned about these websites.

Thanks

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ripley
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Message 8 of 8

Re: WebAdvisor Flagging Up All Sorts

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Thanks both. The blocked content message has now disappeared from all three sites I mentioned plus two others I was seeing it on.

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Hayton
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Message 2 of 8

Re: WebAdvisor Flagging Up All Sorts

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WebAdvisor isn't blocking the sites themselves, but - if the same message that's in the screenshot is appearing for all of them - it's finding suspect material being dragged into the webpages from third-party sources.

This is almost always in the form of poisoned advertisements from one of the advert-retailers : the company running the websites keeps slots on the page open for third parties to insert their advertisements. There is a vast and complex ecosystem of real-time bidding for these empty slots, and the companies buying and selling the free slots don't usually bother to keep an eye on what the advertising content is, or whether it contains malware, for more than  a day or so.

So bad actors provide innocuous adverts that pass initial scrutiny, leave them up long enough to lull the slot-sellers into a false sense of security, then switch them for malware-riddled versions. WebAdvisor usually detects the switch and flags the page for having suspicious content.

I advise you never to allow blocked content to be displayed, because you're then giving the okay for who-knows-what to run.

This is why I have an Ad-blocker in each of my browsers, and do my best to resist the threats and blandishments of sites - news sites are the worst - that say they rely on these outside advertisers and, don't you know, you can trust us, right? Well, no. Wrong. Third-party adverts on a webpage are a menace.

ripley
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Message 3 of 8

Re: WebAdvisor Flagging Up All Sorts

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I have Ad-Block running as well. And two of the websites this message is appearing on are retail outlets that carry no adverts at all. All very odd.

Hayton
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Message 4 of 8

Re: WebAdvisor Flagging Up All Sorts

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M&S - I checked the site from the UK, it showed a server in Amsterdam with IP address 184.50.169.168

No content blocked by WebAdvisor although AdBlock is showing 10 items blocked, and Ghostery 13 - see below

Ghostery M+S.PNG

Ghostery shows you what the trackers are, which AdBlock doesn't.

Generally, poisoned third-party adverts on a high-profile site have a short life - more than a day or two is unusual, although some that don't make too much noise have been known to stay around for a lot longer. Generally, someone notices pretty quickly and blows the whistle, the ad in question gets swiftly removed.

Any others worth checking apart from M&S? And knowing the  IP address is definitely helpful.

ripley
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Message 5 of 8

Re: WebAdvisor Flagging Up All Sorts

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This one does the same http://www.independent.co.uk/  and has an IP address of 151.101.65.184 based in the US. The site has more ads than news. Every page on there brings up the blocked content warning.


And www.boden.co.uk which is 204.74.99.100 and is US based.  All pages again. Chrome tells it has an astonishing 145 cookies in use.

I wasn't familiar with Ghostery (thanks for the tip) but will take a look at that. Yet more stuff to make me paranoid about being on the internet...

Hayton
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Message 6 of 8

Re: WebAdvisor Flagging Up All Sorts

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I've checked the other two sites and these also have no content blocked by WebAdvisor. The Independent of course is ad-heavy, but I note that it also includes material from Taboola. This is classic click-bait stuff and you absolutely do not want or need anything from Taboola on your webpage. I don't think any ad-blockers will stop Taboola but Ghostery might, and if you see it in the cookie list for a site then block Taboola cookies.

I don't know whether the geographical location is important here, but it sometimes is when a site spreads mirror copies around to distribute the load - then you have to look to see if a particular server is flagged for any reason.

If you still see blocked content and I don't, then it's perhaps because I've got tighter control over what gets downloaded and displayed. I operate on the assumption that less is better, and I take issue with those sites (news sites, ugh) which overload a webpage with adverts, banners, flashy stuff and extraneous content generally.

Screenshots --

Ghostery and McAfee Secure for M+S / Boden / Independent (except M+S Ghostery, already posted)

McAfee Secure M+S.PNG

Ghostery Boden.PNG

McAfee Secure Boden.PNG

Ghostery Indy.PNG

McAfee Secure Indy.PNG

catdaddy
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Message 7 of 8

Re: WebAdvisor Flagging Up All Sorts

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I personally run Ghostery and

VoodooShield™ - The User-Friendly Toggling Computer Lock.

https://voodooshield.com/  along side my McAfee software. It basically blocks all attempts.

Cliff
McAfee Volunteer
ripley
Level 8
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Message 8 of 8

Re: WebAdvisor Flagging Up All Sorts

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Thanks both. The blocked content message has now disappeared from all three sites I mentioned plus two others I was seeing it on.

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