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Website of Star Tribune Suffers Malware Infection

On February 22, 2010, the Star Tribune website inactivated a good deal of its online advertising as it decided to patch problems related to an advertisement that may have contained a computer virus.

According to reports, the malware eruption was noticed on February 21, 2010. At StarTribune.com, an editor's note stated that the newspaper had got information that a third-party advertising network had implanted a "malware ad" on the website.

The security experts clarified that such ads are aimed at deceiving unwary users into clicking on them - usually, as in this particular situation, by informing the user that their system has been hit by a virus and they have to click on the ad to execute a computer scan.

If the user clicks on the link, the ad then installs software, which usually has a computer virus or a malware program that can stealthily acquire personal details of the user. Remarkably, the pop-ad cannot be switched off and jams the user's PC.

The security experts opined that similar ads have emerged over the years on other heavily trafficked websites, such as those of Major League Baseball, Fox News, and the New York Times.

The Star Tribune claimed in a statement that they do not allow this malicious ad and consider it a potential threat to the security of their PCs; however, they are still unaware of that for sure. They added that the situation is being dealt with very seriously and aggressively.

Managing Director of StarTribune.com, Terry Sauer, said that newspaper is working to detect and get rid of the virus, but the source is yet to be identified, as per the news published by Finance & Commerce on February 22, 2010.

The reports also reveal that after being attacked with malware infections while visiting the Star Tribune's site, the University Of St. Thomas (USA) restricted the use of general circulation daily's site on February 22, 2010 morning until the harmful code was eliminated.

The call center representative of the University said that the school's Information Resources & Technologies (IRT) department closed the access to the website- www.startribune.com -after the staff and students complained about a large number of malware infections.

Related article: Websites – The Latest Weapon in The Hands of Phishers

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