Millions of people visiting,, and other popular websites were exposed to attacks that can surreptitiously hijack their computers, thanks to maliciously manipulated ads that exploit vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and other browsing software, researchers said.

The malvertising campaign worked by inserting malicious code into ads distributed by, a network that delivers ads to Drudge, Wunderground, and other third-party websites, according to a post published Thursday by researchers from security firm Malwarebytes. The ads, in turn, exploited security vulnerabilities in widely used browsers and browser plugins that install malware on end-user computers. The criminals behind the campaign previously carried out a similar attack on Yahoo’s ad network, exposing millions more people to the same drive-by attacks.

Malvertising is a particularly pernicious form of attack because it can infect people who do nothing more than browse to a mainstream site. Depending on the exploit, it can silently hijack computers even when visitors don’t click on links. Some browser makers have responded by implementing so-called click-to-play mechanisms that don’t render Flash or Java content unless the end user actively permits the plugin to run on a particular site. Some users have resorted to ad blockers, which have the unfortunate side effect of depriving publishers of much-needed advertising revenue.

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My browser visited Drudgereport and all I got was this lousy malware