Flipboard Serves Potentially Malicious Ads

I have used the free Flipboard for several years to read the news on my iPhone and iPad. Yesterday, I came across a malicious ad in the Flipboard app.


You may have seen these ads on websites with your browser, if you don’t use an ad blocker. They try to get you to visit sites that may try to download malware, or just try to scam you. Note that there’s no Cancel button; you have to force-quit the app to get away from it. Many people don’t know that, so they tap OK – since they don’t see any other choice – and wind up on questionable sites.

I tweeted to Flipboard’s Twitter account, and they replied:

Flipboard tweet

This “questionable source” was one that was in Flipboard’s own Movies category, not some random site that I selected. I use several of Flipboard’s categories, which are probably created by algorithms, because they give me a decent overview of the news.

The Flipboard app should be blocking pop-ups, like every web browser can do. This was the first time I’d seen this type of ad in Flipboard, so either something has changed in the app, or advertisers have figured out a way to get through any blocking they may have.

But it happened again this morning. I saw this when I tapped an article; nothing of the actual article even displayed, just the pop-up:


This is another type of common ad that pop-up blockers can eliminate.

I don’t trust the Flipboard app any more. You should be very careful if you continue to use it; I’m going to find another way to read the news on my iOS devices.

Update: It was pointed out to me that this article is currently the lead in Flipboard’s Apple News topic. One has to appreciate the irony…