MSN Messenger’s Nasty Ads

Even before we know they were there, they are reportedly removed.

Microsoft recently removed banner advertisements that install malware from MSN Live Messenger and issued an apology.

I am a user of MSN Live Messenger because office colleagues prefer it over other tools like Yahoo! Messenger or ICQ. But I wonder if any of our PC’s in the office got infected by a malware which is installed upon clicking on banner ads that are found within the program. At least I ignore them, thinking they’re not the best places to put ads even if it captures audience attention like the way cinemas do (it is dark and you’re anticipating the movie is showing soon).


An example is the System Doctor 2006 application, whose misbehavior was captured by Jackie Murphy.

This nasty experience was reported by Sandi Hardmeier, who has devoted time on specializing on Internet Explorer and related applications.

It becomes very difficult for Microsoft to assure the public that ads served on MSN Live Messenger are safe even if they recently updated their anti-malware program.

The ads appear around the contacts area of the instant messaging program. Until now I am hesitant to download MSN Live Messenger upgrade because the only change I see are additional tabs to accommodate advertisers. Lame. Useless. A total waste of time.

Now, who would like to click on these ads? The ads in my machine are mostly coming from Hong Kong advertisers, who think this is the best way to reach the MSN-crazed Hong Kong workforce.

Who would like to advertise if the perception that unwanted ads could squeeze their way into an innocent user’s desktop? Many of these advertisers only want sales (once banners are clicked) or exposure (once ads are merely displayed) of their products and services.

Whitney Burk, a PR manager at Microsoft, said in a statement:

“We can confirm that the ads are no longer being served by any Microsoft system. We apologize for the inconvenience and are reviewing our advertisement approval process to reduce the chance of this happening again.”

That’s her job to because she is the PR manager. But what about those who approved the malicious System Doctor 2006 ads?