Lonely Planet Writer

Malicious malfeasants malign Lonely Planet

Until yesterday, we hadn’t heard the word ‘malvertising’. That changed when some cybercriminals targeted New Zealand online marketplace Trade Me last week.

These villains used an advertising graphic copied from lonelyplanet.com, promoting a sale on Lonely Planet guidebooks. It looked like this:


Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of such a great deal?

Unfortunately, when the banner was loaded, a message popped up on some computers claiming that they were infected. It instructed users to download a virus-protection application, which in reality was – you guessed it – a virus.

The banner was an example of malicious advertising, or ‘malvertising’. The fake ad was a copy of an old ad that Lonely Planet hadn’t used since February.

Please don’t click on any unsolicited invitation to download programs without being 100% sure of the source. And if you’re a business, check the credentials of all your advertisers thoroughly.

And if you’re still steaming that you didn’t get your discounted guidebooks, visit shop.lonelyplanet.com, where we’ll reward you with a legitimate deal.