Tuesday, January 9, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Pop-up Mobile Ads That Trap

Lily Hay Newman:

Ads that automatically redirect you from your daily browsing to a flashy sweepstakes have long been an incredibly annoying facet of the internet. But the versions that have evolved on the mobile web are particularly vexing, because they can trap you with a pop-up “notification” and nowhere to go.

These redirects can show up seemingly out of the blue when you’re in a mobile browser like Chrome, or even when you’re using a service like Facebook or Twitter and navigating to a page through one of their in-app browsers. Suddenly you go from loading a news article to wriggling away from an intrusive ad. What enables these ad redirects to haunt virtually any browser or app at any time, rather than just the sketchy backwaters in which they used to roam? Third-party ad servers that either don’t vet ad submissions properly for the JavaScript components that could cause redirects, or get duped by innocent-looking ads that hide their sketchy code.

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Sometimes the ads are even designed to block your “Back” button, or keep redirecting when you try to close them, making it difficult to escape without having to restart the browser.

Even ads from top, reputable sites do this.

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