Free image hosting is becoming more and more popular, the ordinary user on the internet finds it handy and useful, after all you only need to upload your image to the host and you can then post the link on a forum so that everyone can see the full image or a thumbnail of the image, this is great if you want to share some photos or post a screenshot of a computer problem that you may be having.
One of the favourite and easy to use hosts is ImageShack. Of course they have to make their money somehow or they wouldn't be able to provide a free hosting service, but seeing a few ads on the site that is serving the image is a small price to pay and something that I can cope with.
It's all getting a little more sinister than that now I'm afraid, a good friend and moderator at Computer Trouble reported that, after clicking on a thumbnail from ImageShack that had been posted at the forum, he got a pop up that he couldn't close and was subsequently infected with a couple of trojans. He wasn't the only one either, four other forum members reported problems too.
So I had a go at clicking on one of the thumbnail images and here is what happened. First of all the image opened, then this popped up!
That was worrying, but I didn't click on the OK button I closed the window using the red X... then this popped up!
Oh dear, I tried to close that page and then this popped up.
I tried to close that one and the WinAntivirus page popped up again along with a download request. Needless to say I denied the request and then went through my computer with a fine tooth comb to clear out all vestiges of the infection that was trying to install itself.
So what's going on? I tried to contact ImageShack but I just could not get their contact page to load even though I tried numerous times.
I'm not saying that the ImageShack site itself is compromised, but it doesn't look like they are too bothered about their advertising affiliates and until they clean up their act I strongly suggest that you stay away from ImageShack.
Edit: The problems I was having with the contact page for ImageShack seem to be specific to me. A friend has contacted them for me on my behalf and given them my contact details, I'll post any updates as I get them.
Update posted here