Published on September 16th,2010 at 9:59 AM
By >Daimaou - G.G-B

Malware on AkihabaraNews… What happened?

First of all we are really sorry for what happened over the last 12h… So what happened? If yesterday you tried to access AkihabaraNews via FireFox, Chrome or Safari you may have been “welcomed” with something like this below :

Malware on AkihabaraNews... What happened?

Now, there are no doubts that in the early years of AkihabaraNews we have been hacked and attacked… But since then we learned or lesson and we hired Mark, also known as MagicalTux, a Master in the field to protect us… And yep, he is doing his job AMAZINGLY well and even today, despite the “Malware” report from Google and others, AkihabaraNews is safe… So what happened?

Well, the truth is scarier than what you might think. After hours spent checking every single file and folder on AkihabaraNews, we found out that this “malware” was indeed sent to our website, but via one of our advertisers! The ads in question have been removed and the company contacted… Anyway since yesterday, a couple hours since the first warning everything is safe again, and this morning we received the following mail :

Congratulations! This URL is no longer reported as badware by any of StopBadware’s data providers. We have therefore closed this review and updated our Badware Website Clearinghouse. Any warnings about the URL that are based on our providers’ data should be removed shortly.
Please note that this does not necessarily mean your site is completely free of badware, or that it is no longer at risk of being reinfected.
If you need assistance in protecting your site from future infection, please read our Tips for Cleaning & Securing Your Website or visit our online community,
The StopBadware team

So now everything is almost back to normal and Google will soon update everything and this nasty warning will disappear once and for all.

Now, this raises again the following question, do we need advertisements or should we find other means of revenue?

Whether you like it or not, our time, MagicalTux‘ time and everything here costs money and ads is the only way for us to make that money; however, like you I am not very fond of ads, so I have a question for you: would you be interested in an optional paid subscription to AkihabaraNews WITHOUT any ads? and if so How much ?

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  • Obs

    I still have the issue on …

  • Ballmer Schmidt Jobs

    The world runs on ads, now the past and the future. They’re not going anywhere.

  • Pablo

    Dope site, if you make it a pay site then I’m out….. Nevermind engadget has most of this news anyways. Bye Bye akihabaranews.

    • Daimaou

      The idea was for those who hate ads they can have an ads free site by paying, if you do not want to pay no problems, you will keep on having ads

    • kei

      Another point you miss… The current contents will be still there for “free”. The website won’t change from other sites. And of course, the “free” version will have regular update and improvement.
      The monthly fees concerns more special contents that need more time, more staff, and unavailable on the Internet…
      Anyway, it was just a poll question just to know your opinion, and we are note sure to propose this kind of offer…

  • KyrieElrik

    meh on the ones who doesn’t wanna help keep this site up. I really don’t mind the ads as long there are at least two per page but more than that it bothers me. I be gladly pay 2 bucks a month to read your news ad-free.

    Since I randomly found this site, I like it alot, it’s very interesting and your vids are great. I still wanna visit Japan, I may do that if I go for Japanese Language as a Master, and do summer classes over there.

    Keep it up and I’ll keep coming back. You guys are great. ^__^

  • knedle

    Isn’t there any javascript you can install in order to check, if ads displayed are no malware?
    I mean it should be possible to do, since that javascript would contact the same server as firefox, or safari does and check if urls to ads are not reported as malware.
    On the other hand, making no-ads version of akihabara, that requires small subscription fee is pretty good idea, I think many people would use it, especially if it gave them something more, like ability to view “lets visit Tokio” few days before.

    • Precea

      Hum … you forget one thing, when you add some ads in the website, you have to add a javascript tag, not the ads.
      So you don’t know what you will have (google ads, amazon ads, other ads, etc). So it’s impossible to check what you can have. And here, the problem is a flash ads who have some malicious code in the end of the file (redirect you in a bad website). BTW, after a few minutes every thing was clean. But Google is very long to recheck your website (here 14h).

  • Tiago SAntos

    I was kind of wondering what had happened with the website, I have been a daily visitor for more than a year and a half and never saw anything “fishy” around here.

    Regarding the payments, I think that what you guys do is good enough to fetch a few bucks from me monthly if needed, so you have my help on that one !

  • mong30

    Ads are fine as long as:
    there is no sound take over
    they don’t take you to another page
    block/overlap what you are trying to read

    All these are highly aggrevating. Please consider these problems.

  • Stjepan Skramic

    I would pay, no problem with that. I don’t understand people who want newest content, well-written, nice design, accessibility 24/7 and all that – for free. Akihabara people are entitled to some food and roof above their heads, aren’t they? And that costs. I would recommend to all “if I must pay I’m out of here” to try to maintain one serious website. After a month I’ll ask them do they have money for lunch.

    In the other hand, how much is 5 dollars? One, two coffees? A sandwich? So, who will tell me that one month on this website is not worth as one sandwich?

  • toyNN

    Wow – I’m sorry to here of this problem. But its unfortunately typical that the malware comes in via the advertisers. 5 infections in the past year on the systems I support were from this vector of infection.

    Good for the browsers that adhere to Google’s malware detection – of course IE doesn’t and would let you browse to infected sites.

    I think pressing your advertising partners is needed. Service agreements should spell out responsibilities when in comes to them passing malware-ads. Ok that might not be possible with the economics of it all but it really should be.

  • Aaron

    Several sites were affected by these bogus ads. Yet another reason not to use Windows computers.

  • http://Website speculatrix

    A modest charge like $2 per month would be fine by me; maybe you should only allow paid subscribers to to access the “asian babe shoot-out”, that would definitely encourage up-take.

    I also don’t mind adverts when they are relevant, e.g. where I can buy the gadget being discussed, and where they don’t break up the article by inserting ugly graphics. You need to ensure you get referrer links set up with Amazon, Brando, and, I would happily support the site that way.

    • ike

      Buy from GeekStuff4U if you want to donate. But leave the babes for everybody ;)
      Otherwise we need to start using 4chan & 2chan too.

  • AML

    Important to realize that the average internet user is used to getting everything for free and will probably want, no, expect it to continue being free.

    Life is already expensive enough as it is.

    Maybe you should re-word the poll because it looks like you want us to pay to use the site.
    What you should say is:
    “The site will continue as is, but if you want to get rid of adds, would you pay a monthly fee?”

    I beleive a lot of sites offer the subscription to users. Those with money will be more than happy to pay to get rid of adds, those who cant pay just suffer the adds.

  • B

    Even if the choice was free site with ads vs free site with no ads, I’d still go for the ads. Sometimes there’s interesting and relevant stuff there, so having them is a service in itself. It isn’t like we’re discussing obnoxiously loud TV ads or relevant-to-nobody billboards or something.

  • Matt

    Personally I don’t think your website has enough valuable content to make it worth the subscription. Ads are not bad. In fact, I think with a better website design, you can fit in more ads without making it feel like there’s so many ads.

    Now if you had “premium content” that would only be available to premium members, that would let you have a free and paid section. But what type of premium content are you putting up? I don’t want to offend you, but your website does not have a lot of useful content that cannot be found elsewhere. The videos are nice but you don’t have enough and they’re not useful enough to make most people want to pay $2/month for it… especially when similar videos are available on youtube.

    News, reviews, and forums are already free on other websites. People will simply use other websites. Some forums are paid subscriptions but your forum isn’t active enough and doesn’t have the experts on other forums.

    • Daimaou – G-A.G

      Agree wit you, but we have other cintents we would like to share

  • russ

    Without commenting about paying….

    You can protect your site a little more by hosting all ads in their own iframe, and make calls to a different domain to load the frame and serve the ads. This won’t necessarily protect your users from the risks of including scripts from external sites but it would have help you track down issues much more quickly and prevent your main domain from being blocked.

    You are correct that ultimately you have to not show ads from most commercial ad engines to protect your users, or you could sell simple graphical or text ads yourself which is beyond what a small site can realistically do.

    Even the New York Times website was hit by this type of attack within the past year or so.

    • russ

      To add insult to injury I find it ironic that Google put up a nice warning when I see that you use DoubleClick to source your ads and of course DoubleClick is owned by …. Google! Google/DoubleClick should be doing a much better job of validating their ads and this is not a new problem for them.

  • Stjepan

    An average user is used to free content, that’s true, but those days are slowly going to their end. You must give something to get something, and that’s the future. By the way, I think that Akihabara has content I’d be willing to pay for.



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