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News sites hit by malicious ad attack: Report

News sites hit with ransomware

Several leading news websites have been affected by malicious adverts which have caused some users to be infected by ransomware, according to the BBC.

The U.K. broadcaster reported that its own website had been targeted. It also reported that sites including MSN, the New York Times, AOL and Newsweek had been effected. MSN and Newsweek were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

A spokesperson for the NYT told CNBC that it was still investigating whether it was affected and said the software was impacting ads from third parties that were beyond their control. AOL declined to comment.

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Ransomware is a type of malware – or malicious software – that has become increasingly common. It steals your files and data, encrypts it, and then asks you to pay money to get it back.

The BBC added, citing security researchers, that the malicious ads had been sent to the sites via four separate ad networks. It added that the attack was aimed mainly at people browsing these sites in the U.S.

Click here to read the full report on the BBC's website.

—CNBC's Arjun Kharpal contributed to this article.

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