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New York Times Web Site Helps Accidentally Spread Malware

Fake Vonage Ad Directs to Malicious "Virus Scan" Site

2 min read
New York Times Web Site Helps Accidentally Spread Malware

Over the weekend, the New York Times Web Site was infiltrated by a hacker that, it said over the weekend,

"who first posed as a legitimate advertiser, then started hitting site visitors with aggressive advertisements that appeared to be warnings about viruses."

In a longer story published by the Times yesterday, it explained that:

"As reports of strange activity came in over the weekend, the technical and advertising staff at The Times began to suspect that a rogue ad had slipped through this way, and they moved to stop displaying such ads, said Diane McNulty, a spokeswoman for the Times Company.

But it now appears that the ad was approved by the site’s advertising operations team, Ms. McNulty said. People visiting continued to complain about the pop-up ads throughout the weekend.

'Our first instinct was that it was a third-party ad network,' said Marc Frons, chief technology officer of the Times Company. 'That is where we looked first and why it took a longer amount of time to shut down. The other issue is that it was sporadic and difficult to reproduce.'

The creator of the malicious ads posed as Vonage, the Internet telephone company, and persuaded to run ads that initially appeared as real ads for Vonage. At some point, possibly late Friday, the campaign switched to displaying the virus warnings.

Because The Times thought the campaign came straight from Vonage, which has advertised on the site before, it allowed the advertiser to use an outside vendor that it had not vetted to actually deliver the ads, Ms. McNulty said. That allowed the switch to take place. 'In the future, we will not allow any advertiser to use unfamiliar third-party vendors,' she said."


The Times, which says it doesn't know how many readers were affected, appears pretty embarrassed by the whole affair.

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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