Spotify users may have gotten more than they bargained for this morning.
The music stream app was hit with ‘malvertisements’ causing some pop up ads in addition to the installation of malware on some devices. Spotify has been made aware of the issue and has shut down the malware.
How Malvertising Happens
The combination of malware and advertising is what some have coined malvertising, and it can cause a lot of problems for program users. In some cases the unauthorized ads are simply a pain and can cause some questionable pop ups to happen. In other instances, malware is also installed. In the case of Spotify, malware was installed on some devices when pop ups were tapped.
The biggest problem with malvertising is definitely malware. But the other issue is that many major companies like Spotify charge advertisers for ad space. So if malware companies can simply place ads across many platforms using a technique like malvertising without anyone knowing about it, those advertisers that pay for ad space may become unhappy.
This form of advertising is one of the main reasons why ad-blocking programs have become so popular lately. Most ad blockers stop malvertisements from popping up on screen through many different types of programs. But the platform that Spotify is built on makes it a lot harder to for ad-blockers to work properly.
Advertisements that are built in (like the ones that Spotify uses) are harder for ad blocking programs to successfully block. Of course users could sign up for the premium version of Spotify, which would result in ads being blocked completely, but this is not an option for a lot of people that are enjoying the free Spotify version.
Cleaning Up the Mess
Spotify will have to clean up the mess that the malvertising has caused. Right now, a lot of trial users and people that were using the app for free now have malware on their devices. Even though Spotify has identified and fixed the issue, the damage that the malware has done has already happened.
Spotify will have to find a way to stop these types of malware from infiltrating the company’s ad system. The advantage to a problem like this one is that now Spotify knows where the malware happened and how it was inserted into the company’s ad program, so that means that Spotify can probably reproduce the issue and prevent it in the future.
Using Spotify Now
Spotify is currently up and running like it always has. That means that you can log in without any issue just like you have before. The company seems to have fixed the problem completely now, which means that it won’t likely happen quite the same way in the future.
But will this kind of hack happen again through Spotify? Probably. It’s just not going to be a replica. So far the company hasn’t said much about the details of this hack, but hacks like this one do happen to most major companies - even streaming companies with locked down security.