With this extremely connected world that we live in now, streaming music services are a great way to listen to a seemingly endless selection of songs and albums we could enjoy whenever and wherever.
Open a music service's mobile app or desktop software and off to musical wonderland you go. Most streaming music sites even have free versions, allowing music lovers to access a wide library of tunes without cost.
It's not entirely free, of course, because in exchange for this access, users are typically served with ads instead.
Recently, however, the leading music streaming software Spotify's free desktop version was found to be serving advertisements that led to questionable websites that serve malware.
Windows, Mac and Linux Spotify Free users complained on Twitter and Spotify Community that the music software kept opening their browsers directed to websites poisoned with malware.
These poisoned websites are dangerous because they bring drive-by downloads and will attempt to install malware automatically without the need for the victim to click on anything.
@SpotifyCares Yesterday the Spotify Free software started launching malware on my Mac's Safari on its own. Many have the same experience atm
— Taru Kalvi (@tarukalvi) October 5, 2016
Spotify responded in a public statement that it has reviewed the issue and it has traced the culprit back to a single advertisement. They have since removed this malware source from the free version of their service but there is no guarantee that the issue will never happen again.
Here's Spotify's statement:
"We've identified an issue where a small number of users were experiencing a problem with questionable website pop-ups in their default browsers as a result of an isolated issue with an ad on our Free tier. We have now identified the source of the problem and have shut it down. We will continue to monitor the situation. If you see this issue again, please let us know the exact date and time in this thread."
This demonstrates that even seemingly benign apps like Spotify can serve up malware unwittingly through third-party advertisements.
Malware infections via questionable ads and drive-by downloads are serious threats that affect internet users every day.