‘Seattle Post-Intelligencer’ Ads Affected By Computer Virus

By: E&P Staff

Parts of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Web site were affected by a computer virus that apparently spread through online advertisements for NWAutos, the paper reported Sunday.

The affected ads, which were marked by Google with the warning, “This site may harm your computer,” were removed from the Post-Intelligencer’s Web site Sunday morning. The virus was later removed and the ads returned to their places on the site. However, as of Monday morning, the NWAutos site said it was experiencing “technical difficulties.”

“We do not believe the virus created malicious damage to users,” Patricia Lee Smith, vice president of online media at the Seattle Times, which handles the advertising for both major Seattle papers, told the Post-Intelligencer. “We think the extent of the virus was that it messed up the experience of the Web site.”

The server that hosts the NWAutos ads, Gabriels Technology Solutions, was likely attacked by a virus; the bug that affected the NWAutos ads has been active since early July and has infected more than 50 sites. Gabriels also provides advertising to The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Google warnings did not appear on the NWAutos ads on the Seattle Times Web site, possibly because it did was not found in any of Google’s regular scans for viruses. The Post-Intelligencer report recommends that any users who accessed their Web site Sunday morning run anti-virus programs on their computer to remove any potential problems.

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