MALWAREBYTESOur screen kept nagging us with messages that we needed to update Adobe Flash Player, a program necessary for video playback on the web. But since we knew we already had the latest version , we ignored it.

It was a false message that was aimed at getting people to click on the box it presented, and of course that’s the sort of thing that can get you in trouble. Unfortunately, what’s new in phony messages is that you don’t have to click on anything to get a computer virus. We didn’t get one that time, but to be safe, we downloaded the new “Anti-Exploit,” a free program for preventing these attacks. We got it at, home of another anti-malware product by the same name, also free.

Confused? So were we at first. It turns out there are three things you should have on your machine to keep safe: an anti-virus program (the free version of Avast is good), an anti-spyware program ( like the free one at, and an anti-exploit program, like “Anti-Exploit.” In tests by the software research company Kafeine, the Anti-Exploit blocked every attack thrown at it.

It doesn’t cost much for a criminal to buy one of these exploitive ads. They pay an average of 75 cents for every 1,000 ads during peak traffic on major sites such as the HuffingtonPost,, and DailyMotion, or six cents per thousand in off-peak hours.

There are premium versions of both Anti-Exploit and Malware, though it’s easy to get confused after installation. Anti-Exploit has an “activate” button. If you click on it, they ask you for your license code, so you might be tempted to go back and buy it. But that’s not necessary, unless you also want protection for Microsoft Office files and PDFs. This kind of thing has become commonplace on websites, so just pay attention to what you click on.

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