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January 11, 2005

Highly publicized Internet Explorer fix blocks Google AdSense from displaying

Danish security company Secunia has announced an extremely critical vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and one of the main fixes blocks AdSense from displaying.

Their first suggestion is for surfers to drop Internet Explorer and switch to another browser. But their "alternative workaround" involves changing the set security level in IE to high for the "Internet" zone.

For the people who want to make the fix, more would be more likely to use the workaround than going through the process of finding and downloading a new browser to use (they do not name or recommend any browser alternatives to IE).

But setting the security level to high for internet zone does more than protect the surfer from this browser exploit... it also blocks all Google AdSense ads from displaying within the browser. So anyone who follows their instructions will no longer be able to view and click on AdSense. The entire ad space usually occupied by AdSense will disappear.

This is actually very similar to the problem publishers have with Norton's Internet Security, which comes free on many new computers, with the "ad blocking" feature turned on my default. Most users have no idea they even have this option turned on.

If this fix becomes widespread - and depending on how long it takes Microsoft to issue a patch for this exploit - this could impact publisher earnings. And coming right on the heels of the upcoming Adwords affiliate changes, some publishers may be set up for a double hit to their earnings.

But if Joe and Jane Average do not pay attention to any security risks to their surfing, even the red alert, critical priority ones, the impact could be quite insignificant. However, this one seems to be gaining momentum in the press, and has the potential to have a disasterous effect on publisher earnings.

If you want to see how it affects AdSense yourself, click on tools, then Internet Options, and select the Security tab. Click on Internet, select the "Custom Levels" button, then reset the custom levels to "High", then click on all the OK buttons. Then surf to any site running AdSense, and AdSense ads have vanished off all sites.

Posted by Jenstar at January 11, 2005 10:06 AM

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I turned the security level to HIGH, but the AdWords still appear on all websites...

For example, on my website, http://business-romania.blogspot.com, they do appear.


Posted by: Mihai at January 12, 2005 01:33 AM

You do need to make sure you click the reset button after you hit save, otherwise you will still see AdSense. I am not sure if AdSense will or will not display if you don't have SP2 installed when you do this though. I use SP2, and I am not sure about what others are using when they change to HIGH and cannot see AdSense any longer. But others have run into the same problem.

Posted by: Jenstar at January 12, 2005 07:54 AM

You are right, Jenstar. I tried again and it worked...meaining the adsense dissapeared.

I did some research and I found out that is enough if you only change the ACTIVE SCRIPTING setting to disable. This is the one that causes AdSense to dissapear.

I am not running SP2 and I use IE version 6.0.2800.....

Posted by: Mihai Botea at January 13, 2005 02:31 AM

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