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IT Knowledgebase

Oct 10
Beware of Angry IP’s Site Banner Infections

I was reading a Tech Republic article raving about Angry IP Scanner tool. I decided to download it and give it a try.

Angry IP's download links is linked from Tech Republic's own site, as you can see below:

When you visit Angry IP's Web site, a conspicuous banner sporting a large download button is linked by Google Ad Service. As you can see from the image below, it's extremely misleading. It's intended to make you believe that's the download link itself. The 32 and 64 bit executable files in small letters below the banner are the real download links. When I clicked on the banner ad, I was redirected to alwaysdownloads.com.

 

I became suspicious. I logged in to a virtual machine and decided to proceed with the download to see what would happen. I was led to believe that I was downloading Angry IP Scanner but instead I wound up downloading a bit torrent, a browser add-on and getting my default home page switched to some unknown search engine. The download file came from dl.airdwnlds.com.

Fortunately, I ran this on a sandbox virtual machine and so it did not affect my production system.

The lessons are simple:

  1. Just because the link comes from a trusted source doesn't make it safe. I trusted Tech Republic who in turn trusted Angry IP who in turn trusted Google Ads.
  2. Any time you jump to another page, beware. The content on a given page may not belong to that page or to that organization. Pages can link content from other pages or from advertising sites who in turn unknowingly sell advertising space to unscrupulous companies.
  3. When you sell advertising space to third parties, it's like leaving the front door wide open. Most of the times you get a friendly neighbor come in to say hello, but it's a matter of time before someone shows up who is up to no good.
  4. Just because it comes from Google Ads, it does not make it safe. Google makes a good effort to keep its users safe and its content virus free, but there's just too much out there and stuff gets through until it's discovered and dealt with.

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 Falcon IT Services, Miami, FL

​Falcon IT Services provides computer and network services and support to small and medium sized businesses in Miami, Fl.