Your help needed: Some targeted ads to WUWT disrupt Apple product users

I’m sorry I have to write this, but I need your help, especially if you are an Apple products user, such as iPad or iPhone. I have been getting complaints from people that visit WUWT for a few days now that have been saying they have been getting these fake “Google” pop-up ads that redirect to another website, making it nearly impossible to read articles on WUWT.

I don’t own a single Apple product, so I can’t check, but I did verify with WordPress engineers that the problem exists, and is real. They think they finally have it locked down, but I need some help to check. So if you have either of these devices (seems to be a mobile device issue only) please check WUWT now and tell me if you see anything like this:

If you still see something like, please leave a comment and provide as much details as you can. If you have an Apple product, and you aren’t seeing this sort of ad, that information is useful too.

Thanks. I’m sorry for the trouble, I have no control over this.

Anthony

Advertisements

172 thoughts on “Your help needed: Some targeted ads to WUWT disrupt Apple product users

  1. I have been getting those (annoying pop up ads) but not in the last couple of days. Thanks for addressing this!

  2. A nasty bit of hacking. I do wonder about the motives of the hacker.
    And the duplicate post filter is acting up again.

  3. I see the ad when I open the item on the WUWT website using Safari on my iPad. Note that I also saw it when the item came to my Gmail account and I read it on the iPad. It also shows up in the email on my Android phone.

  4. Anthony this happened to me about a month ago. I had to kill the browser and open it again.

    Lately, I have not seen this redirect.

    • Can’t give a certain timeline, but maybe 2-3 weeks ago I got the “pop-up” too.
      Dell desktop, Comcast, Norton security. ??????
      No issues lately.

      • I have had these but not lately. I also get them on the “Daily Wire” site. Very annoying. I have to close out and come back in sometimes several times before they stop. I just thought some jerk was making it difficult to visit these sites. iPad.

  5. On my iPad a few days ago, but not since – Normally I would just close it out, but i did click the first link. They probably got the data they were seeking. If you find out the purpose of the hack please let us know.

  6. ” I have no control over this.”
    ..
    Actually you have full control over this. All you have to do is host this site on your own server, and you would not have to subject your users with ads because you are a cheapskate and won’t pony up to pay for a server.

    [?? .mod]

    [fake email address, fake IP address, “Remy” is just another sockpuppet fake of David -Anthony]

    • WUWT needs the kind of server that can withstand a determined DOS attack. That isn’t a “your own server” kind of thing – you need professional hosting.

    • Remy Mermelstein

      Actually you have full control over this. All you have to do is host this site on your own server, and you would not have to subject your users with ads because you are a cheapskate and won’t pony up to pay for a server.

      And, since you appear to feel that way about things here, how much have you contributed to the upkeep and operations of this site from your pocket?
      How much has the federal and state governments been paying for your salary and your computer storage at your university, your lab, your research projects? Where would you be, what would you be able to do without unwilling taxpayer support for your position?

      • Yeah, to boot Remy Mermelstein is using a Cornell University email address, while at the same time accusing me of “being cheap”. He’s also using a proxy server in Korea to hide is identity

        Me thinks Remy is somebody else. (that I know only too well)

  7. That happened to me once. Kept happening even after I closed the window.
    I finally closed the Firefox browser completely on my iPad. Then I flushed the memory state. Restarted. Haven’t seen it since. Looked to me like something was trying to insert malware by enticing me to click on the selection choice. I didn’t. I kept closing the window.

    Happened in iOS, but not on my desktop OS X (El Capitan running Firefox browser).

  8. I have not seen the problem and use iPad and iPhone. I use Google as mail and ISP and Telstra is the service provider in Australia.

    Please keep up the good work.

    Roger.

  9. Pop ups like that occur every so often on Apple products. The best way to deal with them is close out of Safari, go to Settings, Safari, and Clear History and Website Data.

    That usually resolve the problem.

    • Yes good advice to close the browser (rapidly press the main button below the screen on iPhones twice, then swipe the browser up and off the page). Reopen the browser. If the popup recurs, power down and restart (reboot) which will usually stop the recurring popups without needing to clear browsing data. But if not, clear cache as suggested. That may cause you to have to log in to some sites where you saved passwords, so that’s why I try to avoid clearing browser data.

      I also see that sort of thing using realclearpolitics.com on a regular basis, but not recently on WUWT. Using iPhone 7.

  10. Thanks for raising that Anthony, had that problem here in Aus about 2 weeks back on my ipad, not so much recently though. Virtualy had to restart the ipad to get around it, very nasty stuff from google, they should be shut down for their deception.

    • It’s not Google, any more than it’s a Nigerian prince trying to reward you generously for helping them get their money out of the country.

      It’s just criminals preying on gullible people who don’t realize that anybody can buy an add and copy a logo.

      Do you really think that Google would have an advertisement with that many spelling and grammar errors?

  11. “Your help needed: Some targeted ads to WUWT disrupt Apple product users”

    I’m having trouble caring about this.

    • I use Apple products. Some skeptics do, you know, even though I detest their smug PR policies as PC apeasement.

      To report: no issues on iPhone or iMac desktop with updated iOS.

      • “I detest their smug PR policies as PC apeasement.”

        Exactly why I have trouble caring. Apple is portrayed as perfect. At least they stopped the constant attack ads against PCs, but Apple as a company leaves a bad taste in my mouth, pun intended.

  12. I went through a period a few days ago where I had to click the Read More link to an article several times before it would go to the article instead of being hijacked to, not Google adware but a $1000 Amazon Gift Card adware.

    Each time I went there there was no way to go back or cancel from the page itself. I had to select the history icon to bring up the the list of sites and delete it from there. After two or three of these cycles I could then get to the article.

    Then often as not, as soon as I would scroll down to begin reading another of the same type ad would appear.

    I was close to giving up about the time it just stopped. I haven’t had any trouble since.

  13. I was getting hijacked regularly but it didn’t look like that. Most common was saying I won a prize from Amazon, less common said my ISP was conducting a survey (I briefly considered that might be authentic, but it did redirect me from the page I wanted to be on, so FAIL). I haven’t seen them for a few weeks. In that time, I changed from iPhone 6 to iPhone X, then upgraded the iOS (twice). I can’t recall if any hijacks occurred after those events. And I use only Safari on my iPhone.

    • I was getting the same Amazon prize message. Flushing memory and restarting was not effective. Finally discovered that if I let the page start loading, and then hit the stop button (X in the URL bar) which prevented the “ad” from loading. Happened on iPhone 7 for about a week. Did not occur on iMac running Safari and Chrome during the same period.

  14. I can get to WUWT from my Crapple iPhone 7, no popup ads like you describe, but very slow though. This comment posted from a PC on a corporate network.

  15. I did get one on my Android phone a week ago, and I think it was on this site reading through Feedly. Haven’t had one since. Slammed it closed and went my way so no details.

  16. Hi Anthony,

    No issue on either an iPad or iPhone from Australia. Haven’t seen anything on either device and do read WUWT everyday.

    As always – thank you for the great work you do.

  17. Never seen this ad.
    Have been checking wuwt every day on ipadpro with latest ios.
    Using from thailand, sometimes with a VPN and a US server.

    I do get a lot of adds for solar panels though, if you can make those go away that would be great 🙂

  18. I see this kind of thing on my iPhone from time to time. I am not having a problem with it at this moment. When I do encounter it, it seems to occur when there is a university nearby or when I am in a more ‘liberal’ area. But the occurrences are sporadic and correlation may not be real. I will close out safari and then reopen and the issue usually doesn’t reoccur. On a few occasions, it has been a significant enough problem that I will turn on my vpn. Using a vpn cures the problem.

  19. I had it for two days last week, and couldn’t even get to your site. Went to the Apple guru’s with my i6 twice and they couldn’t fix it. They speculated that it was due to the release of the new phones, and believed it would soon be fixed. Haven’t had a problem for a few days, but it was frustrating for a whole. I had it occur on multiple sites, not just WUWT.

  20. No issue on an iPhone here in SE Asia. Keep up the good work! Your site continues to enrich my days and enhance my understanding of our amazing planet!

  21. I switched from a Samsung phone to an I phone in March and have had this happen dozens of times since then. It doesn’t just affect WUWT. It first happened to me on the Major League baseball (mlb) website. I deleted the mlb icon and moved it over to the DuckDuckGo (DDG) search app. It hasn’t happened to that website since. A few weeks later it popped up on WUWT. So I moved it over to DDG which stopped that . It just moved over to other websites that I hadn’t moved over yet. It just happened again today.

    As others have noted you can delete the page but the original website page has disappeared. Restarting the original website just results in the popup reappearing. Restarting the phone helped but eventually it reappears.

    I think it has happened before on my Samsung but it wasn’t so hard to delete. I have not had it happen on Firefox that I am using on my Windows 10 laptop.

    It has been a real pain in the ass. If nothing else it is an attempt at denial of service.

    Hope this helps.

  22. This crap ad and the amazon ad have picked on other sites. I usually close the page and it is gone when I reopen. As far as I know, thay are not doing anything more the phishing in a very amateurish fashion.

  23. It’s not just Apple. It occurred on my Droid. Oct 31 post concerning climate police being exposed in Video. For two full days I could not read that post because every time I opened it a message of the nature you described popped up blocking access.

  24. No problem from my iPhone or iPad with Safari. Also no problem from my Mac with Safari and Firefox. I’m near Calgary

  25. This was happening on my iPad with regularity some months ago,
    Very irritating, a fake virus warning
    Would have to clear history to get it to stop

  26. I normally use an Android pad without the problem. However I have seen it weeks ago when occasionally using my MacPro laptop. I’ll keep an eye on it over the next few days.

  27. I’ve seen somesuch thing on my tablet and/or ‘phone….both Samsung. I just closed everything down and ok since. I think I saw it twice but not lately so can’t be sure of details. I am based in Australia.

  28. No problem on my iPhone 6, iPad Pro or MacBook Pro in Safari. I do use an Ad Blocker in Safari which makes it a perfect no hassle experience. If I use Chrome on same devices without an ad blocker, it is basically unreadable and unusable due to so many ads blinking and flashing. And then crashes, presumably due to so much system resources being consumed…or is Chrome itself. The only caveat to that is if I am travelling at an Int airport on free wi-fi and forget to turn on my VPN, then somehow I am bombarded with stuff that I presume comes over the free wi-fi. Try and avoid ‘free’ wi-fi…nothing is free…Security Agencies ply the airports pretty regularly doing wireless deep inspections on devices if accessible on wi-fi. Cell data is better, and with a VPN if you can although they are starting to be illegal in some places.

  29. Dissable java script. Only thing that really helps, because the malicious ad runns on the ad banners and is totally disconected from your browser or data stored on yor mobile device. As for information about you as a user stored in the net… well thats a different story.
    Its a infected ad banner. Cracking down on a specific ad doesnt work, since they just copy paste the ad to a new site, account, company etc.
    As long as google ads decides the ad banner is apropriate for you to see you will have those ad banners popping up. Had the problem since 2014, at times for entire weeks… Couldnt open any site with java scropt enabled, even the ‘legitimate’ ones, like big news sites etc. As long as the site had an ad banner… since many sites dont even work without java script, couldnt acces those no matter what. And the sites i did open didnt have any ad fevenue from me visiting since no java script means no ads prette often.
    The problem miraculously dissapeared one day, after a looong time resisting I finally switched to yes on the google account checkbox asking me if I allow google to colect my data to provide ‘personalized’ ads…

  30. My first ever comment but long time reader.

    I have been plagued by this problem in recent days. It was on other websites showing ads as well but only on Apple Safari browser.

    At the time of writing it hasn’t happened for a few hours. Thank you for your efforts to resolve.

  31. Was getting this up until a few days ago on iPhone X, thanks so much for addressing this. Now if only other sites would too -lol.

  32. I’ve been getting these off and on every since I got my new iPhone almost exactly a year ago. On WUWT and other sites. But none here in the last few days.

  33. Hi Anthony,

    Experienced the problem for approx the last 3 days solid when accessing both your site and Paul Homewood’s at Not a Lot… from my iPad in the UK. No other sites affected. Targeted perhaps? The pop up adverts would appear within seconds of accessing a particular article on your respective sites and would only be readable after closing down the ads, coming off your page and re-connecting perhaps 3 or 4 times. Very frustrating. Interestingly, this is the first article that I have read since the problem began where the ads haven’t appeared. Funny that.

    • @Mack and whom it may concern,
      closing an advert by clicking or tapping is risky, I would never click on anything, that is not related to the website/article I intend to read.
      Further, why would regular readers of WUWT go through a search engine to come here? When you have just once written the correct URL directly, most environments are set up so you can just type a few something like “watt” and the full URL is filled in for you.

    • Similar problem to Mack in the UK on an elderly iPad. I find the easiest way to clear them is to open a second window, click the show all windows button and then click the X button on the affected window. Cant find an adblocker for Safari for my iPad but have started using Brave a browser + adblocker. Seems to work well thus far

  34. Happened to me on my iPad earlier this week, but has gone now after the change Anthony mentioned. As others have mentioned, made it impossible to read articles. 1 Ad was offering me a £500 Primark voucher, and 1 to win a new IPhone. It wanted me to pay £2.99 p&p which sparked a Red Alert and I closed the browser TAB down.

  35. I am in UK and I have had these annoying pop ups, which spoiled your site. There have been none today though so I hope the problem is resolved.
    Thank you for hosting a wonderful and interesting blog

  36. Yes I have suddenly a couple of days ago started getting this constantly popping up whenever I view WUWT on my iPad and it freezes everything and is highly disruptive. I have tried everything to get rid of it but can’t.

    Then I noticed that it must be triggered by a specific pixel group in the centre of the screen when scrolling up or down, so I now am careful to only use the sides to move up and down and find I can manage to read the excellent material on my favourite website.

    If you find a way of disabling this pest please advise.

    Thanks

  37. Yes, I had this come up. The address it pointed to was this one.

    http://google-com-win-a-free-gift-from-walmart-amazon-iphone.avbikuscaoms.com/home/valid?jkhjkhetjkewhkjth=1294;3;2e0e785dd4625c93d5f59db7de4445e0;f8fbcf2065ab3d92ca3411ad8d1f8884;0;1009461_1705;http://google-com-win-a-free-gift-from-walmart-amazon-iphone.avbikuscaoms.com

    It also sent an email to me, with the same advert.

    R

    P.S. Why does WordPress no longer remember who I am, so I have to reenter my details with each post…?

    .

  38. I had the problem on all my iOS devices and considered asking if you knew anything about it but thought I might be wasting your time! I cleared all cached data in Safari through Settings on the devices and have had no further issues

  39. Using safari on an ipad in the uk. I had this problem for the last few days.
    It happens only on wuwt, if i click the page behind, it disappears for a few seconds, then comes back.
    If i click close, it comes back once more.
    I have pop ups disabled in safari and fraudulent website indicator enabled.

  40. Thank heavens, I think you’ve fixed it. Being away from home I only have my iPhone so I have been unable to get past the bug and read any of your posts for the past few days.

  41. Im on an iPhone. I was getting them but very plain: a pop up menu taking up 2/3 area of screen, same shape more or less a iPhone screen so a border all round constituting the original page in the background. Black text on white. It was plain text, not fancy, no colour or logos. Google was mentioned in most or all. Happened three times over last 5-7 days.

  42. I experienced this issue on an iPhone 5 ten days ago and turned off settings that might allow these ads through. Under the “Privacy” settings tab there is a tab at the bottom for “Advertising” and in that a toggle for “Limit Ad Tracking.” I thought that was for Apple targeted ads but turned it on anyway. The ads ceased immediately.

  43. No problems on iPad mini iOS 11.4.1 with Safari in Australia. Maybe I should hold off on that 1.24 GB update – that Apple wants me to install*.

    *iOS 12, which could be the cause of the problem

  44. I had no problems with a BB running BB10 in Beijing during that time, however I did notice that if the browser was left open sometimes it would drain the battery because of some ad. I can’t say that was unique (airports are notorious) but WUWT ads do sometimes try to take control of something.

    Is it possible that there is some keystroke recording taking place while making comments, by which I mean going ‘elsewhere’, not to the page?

  45. Someone complained to me FireFox on WinXP (patched!) had these problems with WUWT and NoTricksZone.
    Looks like a popup, or a script looping.

  46. Kind of a mixed bag of remarks. Could it be the carrier or the security program and level set? Perhaps that info could be included.

    I have an iPhone 6 with the most current updates and Norton Security Suite. My carrier is Verizon. No problems.

    • I should also mention that I set the security very high on all my devices with history and cookies deleted at the close of the browser.

  47. I get similar popups on my ipad. They are from other sites, but not yours. I have not determined the cause, but I don’t think it is related to your site. If it were related to your site, all these people would be seeing the same problem.

    [What version ipad? .mod]

  48. Checked this morning, 8 November, No issue on either iPad or iPhone . I mainly use laptop to access your site and haven’t had any issues there

  49. No pop up here, running iPhone 6 with latest iOS. I would point out that sometimes Google ads also target Windows machines with a “Windows infected” ad that is near impossible to bail from. I’ve switched from Chrome to Firefox (no ad block) and haven’t had the issue yet. I lay the blame at Google Ad’s feet as the phenomenon is NOT the website, but the unscrupulous ads they let go into the wild!

  50. This is yet another useless comment to the effect that it did not happen to me; or it did happen and I have nothing to offer but vague recollection of same; or I have a link here from my address bar that is from the end of the redirect chain and cannot identify the page inclusion that started the chain; or I have something boorish to say about Apple.

  51. Got one of these ads on my Samsung galaxy 10.1 2014 version notepad. Had to turn off the notebook and restart to get off that page!

  52. several conservative websites have Ads that seem to auto-launch redirecting to an Ad website, offering freebies or something.
    I tried blocking these websites,
    But iOS sucks in not letting entire domains to be blocked.
    also, the most recent version of iOS seems to have remove the website blocking, so Apple sucks

  53. I got one of these ads yesterday when using my Apple device. It took a while to get rid of the ad. I even let the countdown time out but it just reset the timer. I can’t remember whether or not I was visiting WUWT but since I am a very frequent visitor, I probably was.

    I’ve just read the plea by Anthony while using my PC. I immediately tried my ipad but there was no sign of the problem. I seem to remember seeing a similar irritating ad about a year ago.

  54. It’s been happening for some time on one of my favorite news sites. I’m suspicious that the ISP is at fault for this. Using the VPN may help.

  55. I was getting similar up until last night here in Blighty, but not tried today except on a Windows PC. Sent you a message yesterday via your contact page with more details.

  56. Thursday – same here – initial problem for about two or three days but clear now. No problem with Paul Homewood’s site. I hope you are not being targeted – but if you are it’s a sort of backhanded compliment recognising your influence

  57. I WAS getting this a couple of days ago. Not getting it now, so the “lock down” seems to be effective.

    More importantly, I have both an i-phone (work provided) AND a Samsung (Android) phone (personal), and I was getting that shit on BOTH platforms, so it wasn’t JUST an “apple” issue – seemed to affect ANY mobile device.

    Pissed me off when I was being essentially prevented from reading WUWT based on some ass who thinks my access to something other than “their” misinformation should be barred!

  58. P.S. At one point, I even tried answering the stupid survey questions, just to see if that would get rid of it. No dice, it was clearly an attempt at “denial of service” or something like that.

  59. No problem on my iPad, Android phone or multiple MacBook Pros, but I am running Pi-hole on my home network. It does a pretty good job of filtering out stuff without the need to load ad-blockers on every device/browser.

  60. P.P.S. I was on Safari on the i-phone and Firefox on the Android, so if was affecting different browsers, too.

  61. I’ve had similar adds redirecting me to an Amazon promo. I’m not sure if it’s real because I’ve never followed the link. It’s a one-way trip that I cannot back out of. It’s probably happened on my iPhone a dozen or so times over the last several months. I don’t recall it on my iPad.

    I’ve shrugged it off as the cost of using socialist media.

  62. That also happens with Android devices. When I engage my Norton Privacy VPN service (which I don’t normally use on known secure networks because it degrades bandwidth a bit) that blocks the malware that is not blocked by my standard Norto Mobile Security.

  63. Anthony ==> Using my wife’s iPad (I would not own an Apple product if they gave it to me free –might if they paid me enough..:-):

    ALL IS WELL — no fake Google page.

  64. Was happening a couple days ago, but not now, happens on a lot of sites from time to time, usually political sites but sometimes sports related ones as well. There is a Verizon and Amazon version of the redirect thing as well.

  65. This is what pops up on bing when you type in ‘wattsupwiththat’

    “Watts Up With That? is a blog promoting climate change denial that was created by Anthony Watts in 2006…”

    ‘Climate change policy denial’ would probably be more accurate.

  66. I have this issue on my Android phones. It happens on a few other sites also.

    It comes and goes – every few weeks I get it here on WUWT.

  67. iphone 7 with latest OS update installed, no issues but also run Ad Blocker so rarely see popups anyway.

    FYI for those reading this. Hands down my two favorites apps are Ad Blocker and Hiya. Ad Blocker makes my online experience much better and Hiya does such a good job blocking spam calls I no longer feel like I need to let numbers I don’t recognize go to VM.

  68. I have had this happen on this and other sites.

    For me, it usually isn’t instantaneous, but will redirect a tab that has been open a while. It usually fills the “back” queue with copies of itself, so your actual page is lost.

    Thanks for your diligence in monitoring for this BS.

  69. I had one about two months ago but have not experienced any recently. iPhone SE, IOS 12.0.1, AT&T and using office wifi mostly.

  70. I was getting those type of redirect ads for several days when trying to read articles here. They seem to have stopped now. I’m an Android user not Apple fwiw.

  71. In IOS you can block pop ups in safari. Go to settings/safari and choose option. I do and have no problems of this kind on iPhone, iPad. On a MacBook I believe that is the default.

    • Consider yourself lucky John. My pop-up blocker is on and I still get them. Do you still see the embedded ads when viewing WUWT?

      From what I can tell these aren’t popups – they are url redirects. After arriving at the url in the link clicked (in this case WUWT) one of the ads being displayed redirects to a completely different destination url. Given that the ads displayed are determined by your online activity it is entirely possible that this is only seen by a subset of iPhone users. And since the ads targeted at someone are rotated, it is also random whether and when anyone will see it.

      FWIW, WUWT isn’t the only site where I’ve seen this happen on my iPhone. I have not seen it on my iMac.

  72. No problem on this iPad Air (gen 4) running iOS 12.0.1 and viewing WUWT in Safari in England.

    However viewing the Daily Telegraph homepage (same kit) has been constantly interrupted by this malware for the last few days.

    It would appear that the hackers have upped their game and have started to infect many more sites.

  73. I’ve had the same thing, but it’s “Congratulations Amazon User”, pop up intermittently on this site for months. IPad Air2. Regards.

  74. I use exclusively Apple products and have no problem. One thing I like to mention is the recent update of their operating system called Mojave. I updated without problems but others may have problems associated with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *