Suspicious ad loaded despite being blocked by mcafee on chrome - am I infected?

A

AC Question

Hi everyone. I have a question about malware and getting infected by browsing malicious sites/ads. I'm running android 5.1 on a moto G smartphone, with McAfee's Mobile Security app (called "Security and Power Booster -free" in my app list on the google play store) installed on it.

About a week ago I visited pornhub on my phone with chrome. One of McAfee's features (SiteAdvisor I think it's called) blocked a pop-up ad that was triggered by me clicking play on a video, and displayed a warning screen in the new popped up window instead of the ad (saying it had found "malware, spyware or other potentially unwanted programs" etc. in this link). I would think it's normal that porn sites load porn ads before you can watch their videos, even ones that are might be seen as malicious by antimalware apps. But what happened next was strange; I decided to not click any of the options the McAfee warning window gave me (going back or "taking the risk" were the options I think) and just close this window instead, thinking that would take care of the problem. After I closed it though, I saw that it had already loaded the ad in the first window instead - the one where pornhub was originally open. After closing this window as well, I accessed the site once more to see if it would load ads again, but it played the video normally without a pop-up this time around. I'm guessing it was only required to see their ads once to get access to the videos.

I tried to replicate this whole scenario by deleting cookies/browser data and then revisiting the site and repeating the steps, only this time did it load a different ad in the original window after closing the warning window. So in both cases, regardless of McAfee preventing the ad to load in one window, it managed to load one in the other window anyway.

This worries me, since I feel it implies the ad realized it was being blocked and escaped to another window so it could still infect me. I guess it could've also been related to the way pornhub processes ads - if seeing an ad is a sort of requirement to getting to the videos, it could've automatically redirected the ad to the only other free window since it was not able to display it in the popped up one. Maybe it was even due to me closing the McAfee warning prematurely without clicking any of its options. In any case, I have no idea what exactly happened and this scares me. I know that people say you usually don't get malware on phones by just browsing, since software from untrustworthy sources is usually the culprit. However, I don't know what new types of malware and what ways to get them on your phone there might be nowadays. I'm sure malware is a thing that constantly evolves.

So I wanted to ask you guys: do you think the unusual behavior of these ads is a cause for concern? Did the ad try to infect me by escaping to another window even though it was blocked? If McAfee saw it as malicious, then having this ad loaded would probably put me in harm's way right? (I did run scans with 5 anti virus apps afterwords though, by McAfee, Malwarebytes, Avast, Kaspersky and Eset; they all found nothing). Or am I worrying about nothing, and its redirection to another window was most likely due to some harmless technical reason, like me closing the McAfee window too soon?

Thank you all, I'd greatly appreciate any advice.

Also, I've been told the most complete way to take care of any malware on my phone would be to do a factory reset. I've even heard one can additionally do a check via some apps on the google play store to see if my phone has been rooted, to make sure absolutely nothing would survive the reset. Are these recommendable measures to take in such a case?
 

nahoku

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Jan 26, 2013
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All porn sites will have scripts running to trigger ads and popup windows, and even virus' and malware. Sorry to say that when you go there, nothing you're running will protect you. Not McAfee, Norton, or any other antivirus or malware program. The only time any of these programs can help you is "after the fact"... which means, after you get either infected, or after whatever download has been triggered, is already downloaded.

The only way to enable a safer browsing experience is to run an addon in your browser that can block scripts. For android, I'm not sure what's available for Chrome. For Firefox, there's Noscript for PC and Noscript NSA for Android. The android version rather sucks next to the PC version.

That said, you take your chances at porn sites. If you do banking, or any monetary transactions on your phone/tablet, I would seriously think about what sites you visit.
 
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