'Millions' of PornHub users may have been infected by hackers

'Millions' of PornHub users may have been infected by hackers

Not many people shout it from the rooftops, but many millions of people visit Pornhub, the 'adult entertainment' pornography website every year.

Indeed, according to Wikipedia, Pornhub came in at a respectable 38th in the list of top 100 most visited websites in the world as of April 3rd 2017.

Pornography remains a divisive topic in our ostensibly progressive modern culture; there are those that view X rated entertainment as merely an extension of our freedom of expression, our right to use our bodies as we see fit. Others, though, argue that pornography perpetuates unrealistic sexual expectations, particularly in young men who might presume that the behaviour they witness in pornographic movies reflect what a 'normal' sexual experience should look like.

Porn has also been accused of placing unacceptable pressures on women in wider society. The issue of female sexuality in pornography is a complex one; one on hand it could be argued that women in porn are able to explore their sexuality and sexual freedom in a safe environment without prejudice, but porn has also been characterised as an exploitative medium intended only to satisfy the male gaze.

Regardless, the pornographic industry is a lucrative one that is growing ever further into the mainstream, thanks largely to the rise and rise of x rated websites like Pornhub.

Less a taboo, more a widely accepted aspect of online culture, Pornhub is one of the most widely known websites on the internet, as well as one of the most visited.

The reason for this is plain; sex sells, and Pornhub has garnered a reputation as something of a reputable source for all of your X rated video needs; free from the virus and malware that so plague other pornography websites.

Or so we thought, but recent reports have suggested that millions of Pornhub users over the past year might be susceptible to PC viruses as a result of their perusal of the website.

Security researches have uncovered a long running virus on Pornhub known as "malvertising", a method by which hackers can target users by the use of infected advertisements.

According to Proofpoint, the scheme was running for at least a year, and left "millions of potential victims in the US, Canada, UK and Australia" exposed.

Proofpoint explained that users were shown false advertising urging them to update their version of Flash or web browser;

"While the payload in this case is ad fraud malware, it could just as easily have been ransomware, an information stealer, or any other malware.

"Regardless, threat actors are following the money and looking to more effective combinations of social engineering, targeting, and pre-filtering to infect new victims at scale."

As always, it pays dividends to be cautious about what information you choose to give out online, and to be careful about clicking on potentially damaging links, particularly as hackers develop ever more sophisticated schemes to attempt to extract money and information from unsuspecting web users.