MICROSOFT CUSTOMERS are reporting an increase in the number of dodgy adverts being displayed in default apps for Windows.
A report in GHacks points to apps like Microsoft News, available fresh out of the box for Windows 10 users, serving adverts which direct the user to fake services such as malware detection and tech support. Some direct users to fake competitions with prizes that simply don't exist.
Microsoft includes advertising on an increasing number of its services, which are automatically picked from an ad server based on all that lovely metadata you've been leaking. The problem is, Microsoft hasn't set the throttle on what kinds of ads it will tolerate.
This is particularly bad news if you're a Luddite, as the clever (unauthorised) branding and scare tactics can often lead you to assume this is part of Windows and click your way down a rabbit hole.
Current advice is not to click on them, but some people will always stick their hand in the fire to see if it burns. Also ‘don't click here' isn't as persuasive as an ad served up in front of you.
Microsoft is dimly aware of the issue according to user forums, but there's been nothing official suggesting it is in the process of kicking the dodgy ads off. Microsoft gets the ads from its own network so there's little excuse of third-party issues.
The key danger seems to come from bombastic warnings about viruses. Given that even if you're not sure how to work the internet, you still probably know what a virus is, this is very likely to suck people in, especially in the supposedly walled garden of Windows 10 native apps.
Just to be clear - no ad is safe unless it is. Rogue campaigns can appear anywhere if the ad server holds them and the developer settings in-app aren't tight enough. μ
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