When blacklist warnings pop up telling you that a site may harm your computer, most of us do the same thing—we click the “Get me out of here!” button. But what if you see a warning that there is unwanted software on a page, or that there are harmful programs. Can you still visit the site and simply avoid the malware?

Interestingly enough, these messages might not appear because of something placed on the site by the domain itself—but thanks to malware hidden in the site’s advertising.

Where Will You Run into Blacklist Warnings?

This warning is most often encountered while trying to load a video-watching site (including ads). Of course, more reputable sites like YouTube won’t cause this warning. The problem with less-reputable sites is that they need to make money somehow, and when you run a less-than-reputable site, you end up with bottom-feeder advertisers.

We’re talking about the kind of advertisers that can only afford to place ads because they are using those ads to run scams. Whether it’s a keylogger, spyware, or a trojan, the results won’t be good for anyone who clicks on the ad.

How Can You Avoid Getting Scammed?

Obviously, the best thing you can do is click the “Get me out of here!” button. But if you really want to get to the site, you can’t allow those video ads to play. This leaves you with a couple of options.

  • Adblock everything – If you stop all the ads from running, the harmful software won’t be able to make its way onto your computer.
  • Disable certain ad networks only – While this allows you to still see some ads and provide support to the site, you block the ads that can harm your computer. However, this means researching which ad networks are displaying the shady ads. Also, you must have the technical know-how to blacklist only certain ad networks.

Tips for Site Owners

Be careful which ad networks you work with. Getting blacklisted by Google is a quick way to tank your site. Also, monitor your security regularly to ensure it isn’t your site that has been infected—and is being used to attack site visitors’ computers.