Advertising has always been a key part of the online experience, ever since the popularisation of the world wide web in the late ‘90s. Yet, despite this constant involvement, the finer points of digital advertising have undergone several significant changes. One of the most obvious forms where this change has taken place is safety concerns. Existing as a constant battle between honest advertisers and malicious interlopers, the push and pull have tended to favour the honest, but this position has been hard-won.
The Prior Dangers
Back in the early days of the internet, the biggest problem with advertisers tended to revolve around pop-up ads. These could appear rapidly and unprompted, propagating until a system required a hard reset. While these were frustrating to manage, they are also largely a problem of the past. The negative attention and worldwide hate that nasty popups generated led to a market that was much better regulated. This, in addition to the application of adblockers, stopped the popup threat before it reached the modern-day on a mass scale.
Today, the single largest threat that most internet users will face comes from malvertising. This is where dangerous ads usurp trusted ones, leading to situations that harm both websites and their customers. Fortunately, modern malvertising protection systems adopted by websites can effectively solve this problem by using advanced AI technology.
This tech uses recognition algorithms to interpret the patterns generated by malvertising, stopping it before it hits a user’s device. Adopted by websites rather than users, these systems often go unheralded by audiences, but their consistent application plays a huge part in keeping the modern online world safe.
Another major challenge that modern websites need to adapt to is the different types of ads that apply to different access modes. Advertisements designed for desktops are meant for desktops exclusively and can have issues scaling to mobile devices. For this reason, websites need to be sure that their ad systems are flexible enough to cater to each platform individually. Failing to meet this challenge can throw websites out of alignment, leading to websites that appear ugly, inconvenient, and unprofessional.
In terms of direct threats that the user addresses, the most common problem to deal with comes in the form of downloadable programmes. While sometimes safe, some websites don’t offer downloads directly instead of pushing proprietary download programmes to deliver content. This might give the files a person wants initially but could hang on the background of a system constantly, modify safe ads to malware, and consume resources that the user isn’t aware of.
Fortunately, there are simple fixes for this problem. Firstly, users should refuse to use download managers offered by websites, including optional direct download methods. Otherwise, simple malware scan programmes could be regularly scheduled to remove those harmful programmes that have broken through a computer’s defences. These are free and easy to use and should not be overlooked.
Whichever side of the user/producer equation a person sits on, the modern age of online advertising is, fortunately, easier to manage than ever before. That said, complacency is still dangerous, so being diligent is always going to be important. If you don’t use any of these safety tools yet, consider investigating what they can offer or teaching their use to those you care about. For the sake of not having to act as family tech support, you’ll thank yourself for it.