Have you been to Expedia.com or Rhapsody.com recently and saw a flash banner ad?
Both Expedia.com and Rhapsody.com have plenty of flash banners and popups to keep your eyes busy. Recently it was discovered that some of the banners may be malicious in that they are re-directing users to sites that deliver unwanted and harmful programs to visitors.
Expedia and Rhapsody are both great legitimate sites that offer excellent services. Recently it was discovered that the flash banners on Expedia and Rhapsody are actually links to sites such as quinquecahue.com that leads to the installation of Trojans on your computer. Banners of this type will really trash a nice site and turn away customers when they get their hands on a nasty Trojan or virus. The travel plans you make on Expedia might as well be cancelled because you might not be able to pull up your travel information if your computer crashes. Hackers know how to give people a good start to their vacation, give them hell on their computer before they get on the plane.
Hackers have obviously gone through some long nights to get people to fall victim of their dirty scams. Before Expedia and Rhapsody were attacked by hackers, they had some really nice genuine flash banners. Now with the hackers bring down the house the new fake banners do not look much different from the legitimate ones.
Expedia and Rhapsody malicious banner images from spywaresucks.com.
This supports the fact that any internet user can be fooled and end up getting a not-so-nice start to their planned Expedia vacation or Rhapsody music listening experience.
Internet Tip: Please remember that large sites such as Expedia and Rhapsody make a valid effort to find vulnerabilities such as the banner issue. They will always keep their users notified and make take the necessary precautions as soon as they can. Sometimes the efforts are not able to protect everyone so you must educate yourself on any new vulnerabilities.
So in the mean-time what can you do when you visit sites like this and see flash banners?
It is always a good practice to check the source of a advertisement banner by rolling over the banner with your mouse. This is only useful if the banner displays it's target link in the lower bar of your web browser. If the target site looks suspicious then you do not have to click the ad that you see. Some legitimate advertisement sites/links use long and funny looking address so this may not guarantee that you have identified a malicious link or site. It is best to use your fair judgment and familiarize yourself with what a hacker banner looks like or avoid the redirected site when it is launched.