Ads on Wikipedia? It's Malware!

Melanie Gross
May 17, 2012
Updated • May 17, 2012

Sometimes it is not easy to spot if ads are injected into your browser sessions or not. Sometimes though, you can be dead certain that something fishy is going on, for instance if advertisement starts to appear on Wikipedia, a site known for its ad-less approach to things.

Philippe Beaudette on behalf of Wikipedia is currently warning users visiting the site that advertisement that they see on the site have not been placed by Wikipedia there, and that the most likely explanation for ads being displayed on Wikipedia pages is malware.

One of the culprits has been identified as the Google Chrome extension I want this. If you are using Chrome, and see ads on Wikipedia, you may want to check whether the extension is installed on your system.

  • Click on the wrench icon in the upper right corner of the screen, and then on Tools > Extensions.
  • Look through the extension list and see if the I want this extension is installed here.
  • If it is, it is strongly suggested to remove it by clicking on the remove button next to it.

Beaudette notes that it is likely that this may not be the only Chrome extension that is injecting advertisement on sites, and that other browsers may also be affected by similar malware.

The best way to address the issue is to run the browser without add-ons for a moment, to see if ads are still displayed on Wikipedia. If they are not, you know that one of your browser add-ons is the culprit. If you still see advertisement, you need to delve deeper into the topic, as there are some possible explanations for this.

  • You are not on the official website, but on a copy cat site that is displaying Wikipedia contents and ads
  • You are in a public Internet cafe, hotel, or any other public network where your access is limited. It can happen that ads are injected while you are connected to the network, which would not make it a issue of your computer, but of the network you are connected to.  Sometimes, it may be enough to connect to Wikipedia via https instead to get rid of the ads, other times, you may want to try virtual private networks.
  • Last but not least your ISP may also be injecting ads into websites you visit.  A vpn may help in this case as well.

Beaudette recommends to scan the system with security software if advertisement is spotted on Wikipedia, or other locations on the Internet where it is usually not displayed. He recommends Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Ad-Aware which are both available as free versions.

Have you been affected by ads on Wikipedia?


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  1. SubgeniusD said on May 18, 2012 at 11:18 am

    What sort of knucklehead would click an ad on a site famous for it’s refusal to run any sort of advertising?

    Oh yeah – any of the clickmonkeys who come to me for help cleaning their systems out LOL…….

  2. Doc said on May 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Ads on Wikipedia? Its Malware!


    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      Corrected, thanks.

  3. Yoav said on May 17, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Known – not none, if i may. (first paragraph)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks, corrected.

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