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Popbitch blames tainted ad server for Google malware warning

Shamed popstar hackers out of the frame

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Popbitch has confirmed that tainted ads were to blame for the classification of the site as a potential security risk on Thursday.

Goggle's Safe Browsing tool flagged up problems with sections of the popular celebrity gossip site, and marked the whole site as potentially unsafe, on Thursday.

Popbitch attributed the problem to its ad server, which was running an insecure version of Open Ads.

The site has temporarily suspended ad serving while it sorts out the problem. "We've got to the bottom of this problem and are just waiting for the all clear from Google," a spokeswoman explained.

"There is a vulnerability in Open Ads X, the ad server we were using. We've cut off open ads from Popbitch and are upgrading to OpenAds 2.8.7."

Popbitch, which is making other changes to the site in order to prevent a repetition of the problem, added that other users of Open Ads might want to review the security of their installation, a very sensible piece of advice.

The same insecure OpenAds installation problems were also blamed for tainted banner ads on notorious torrent tracker site the Pirate Bay earlier this week.

Malware flaps involving tainted ads have affected such diverse organisations as the Daily Mail, Expedia, MySpace and the Communist Party of Britain. The gossip site deserves credit for responding promptly to the discovery of problems with its installation, tackling the issue in good time to deliver what promises to be a very Popey, Wham!-filled issue of its weekly email today. ®

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