Web surfers brace for pop-up downloads

Web surfers who thought online advertisements were becoming increasing obtrusive may be dismayed about a new tactic: pop-up downloads.

In recent weeks, some software makers have enlisted Web site operators to entice their visitors to download software rather than simply to view some advertising. For example, when visiting a site a person may receive a pop-up box that appears as a security warning with the message: "Do you accept this download?" If the consumer clicks "Yes," an application is automatically installed.

Computer security expert Richard Smith explained that with such downloads, "You don't even know why you're getting this program, and the people who do (pop-up downloads) are relying on the fact that people tend to say 'Yes.'"

"A person should request the download," he said. "It's the classic opt-in, opt-out debate."

In some cases, the person is not even asked whether they want the software. It just installs on the hard drive--a particularly troublesome tactic that some have dubbed "drive-by download."

Among the sites that automatic downloads have appeared on are Innovators of Wrestling, MP3Yes.com, and the Web community site EZBoard.

Such sites often launch so many pop-up windows it's hard to determine where the download originated.

News source: CNet News

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