Hi everyone. I have a question regarding malware and malicious sites/ads, and getting infected by just browsing them. I'm running Android 5.1 on a Motorola Moto G phone and have the McAfee Mobile Security app (called "Security and Power Booster -free" in my google play app list) installed.
I visited a porn site (pornhub) with chrome on my phone a few days ago. One of McAfee's features (SiteAdvisor I think it's called) blocked a pop-up ad that was triggered by me clicking play on a video, and displayed a warning screen in this new popped up window instead of the ad. I would think it's a normal occurence that a porn site would load porn ads before you can watch its videos, even ones that are might be seen as malicious by antivirus programs. What happened next was strange though: I decided to not click any of the options that McAfee's warning window gave me (I think either going back or taking the risk were the options) and just closed this window instead, thinking that would take care of the problem. But after I closed it, I saw that it had already loaded the ad in the first window instead - the one where the porn site was originally open. After I closed this window as well, I accessed the site once more to see if it would load ads again, however it played the video normally without a pop-up this time around. I'm guessing it was only required to see their ads once to access its videos.
I tried to replicate this whole scenario by deleting cookies/browser data and then repeating the steps, only this time did it load a diferent ad in the original window after I closed the McAfee warning window. So in both cases, regardless of McAfee preventing the ad to load in one window, it managed to load one in the other window anyway.
This worries me, since to me this implies the ad realized it was being blocked and escaped to another window in order to still get a chance to infect me. That's why I wanted to ask you guys: is this scenario likely? Or was it perhaps due to some other harmless reason? Was it maybe just due to me closing the McAfee warning prematurely without clicking any of its options? Is it normal that McAfee's blocking process would then not work properly and the ad would get a chance to load somewhere else? Or maybe it was due to how the site handles ads (if seeing an ad is a sort of "requirement" to proceeding to videos, it automatically redirected the ad to the only other free window after not being able to display it)? Either way, I have no idea what exactly happened and this scares me. And after all, if McAfee saw the ad as malicious and possibly infectuous, wasn't my phone put in harm's way when the ad managed to load?
I've done virus scans with 5 antimalware apps by now (by McAfee, Malwarebytes, Avast, Kaspersky and Eset) and they found nothing. I also know that many people say malware can't get on your phone that easily, and it's usually software from untrustworthy sources that's dangerous. However if McAfee explicitly warned me about viewing the ad, then I should assume there was a good reason for that. Not to mention I don't know what kind of nifty types of malware might be out there these days. That's why I wanted to ask you guys: is this ad having loaded despite McAfee's block a cause for concern? Should I assume I'm infected? Or is it normal that it didn't block it properly since I just closed the warning window without clicking any of its options? Is there perhaps some other reason behind it?
Thanks everyone, I'd greatly appreciate any help.
I would say you are probably fine. Those warnings would have blocked the ads completely had they been malicious.
It was merely warning you to be cautious.
Hi I would like to share my findings here. As said you are probably fine. When you open a porn site, they try to give you some popups(ads) and those popups(ads) normally opens in a new window. When it opens in a new windows McAfee Siteadvisor would tell you its blocked and that is how it works. In short when you been to pornhub website it might tried to open up an ad which is from another source or it might tried to take you to different malicious website so McAfee has blocked it. When you closed the McAfee alert and the ads you got in the back ground could be from the same website(pornhub).
Thank you all for your replies, I appreciate it.
Nikenth, I'm not quite sure I understand your last sentence. Are you saying that the ad in the background probably came from pornhub itself, and not from the malicious ad trying to escape to another window?