Porn sites are making a serious effort to clean up their act and debunk the myth that visiting adult websites will put your PC at risk.

If you've ever had a virus on your PC you're likely to have had the usual response: 'Ooh what have you been looking at?'

Credit: iStock/OcusFocus

Well according to Malwarebytes' senior security researcher Jerome Segura, porn sites are safer than we think. In fact, they're safer than a lot of non-porn websites.

According to Pornhub, 78.9 billion adult videos were watched last year on Pornhub.com, equalling a staggering eleven videos for every person on the planet.

With 56 percent of Britons watching porn 'occasionally', according to the Independent, porn sites have a responsibility to keep their sites clean from malicious content while overcoming the stigma attached.

And this is exactly what they have done. "Pornography publishers are about half the publishers we work with" says Malwarebytes CEO Marcin Kleczynski.

"They do take security seriously...their response times [to an attack] have been significantly better than other publishers."

Malvertising

Malicious advertising or malvertising refers to the use of online adverts to spread malware and infect consumers' computers. 

Online ad networks work with real-time bidding based on cookies and other user data to create extremely targeted ads. However "not all ad networks apply the same guidelines" says Jerome Segura. 

"The ecosystem is very diverse and you'll see that some are pretty strict and others are not so much".

"Because they are all tied in together sometimes an [ad] impression will go through multiple parties... a particular ad impression can go through five, ten, fifteen, twenty different parties before it gets back into your browser".

Credit: Popcash

It seems that one of the biggest problems is that some ad networks are providing a cheap and easy entry point for malware to be spread.

Malvertising has "become a very efficient delivery mechanism for malware" says Malwarebytes CEO Marcin Kleczynski.

For some ad networks the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) is extremely low with ad accounts being created with as little as $5 and getting ads online in just ten minutes.

With so many layers and so many potential interferences, how can companies really know if the ads they display contain malicious content?

Who is liable?

Cheap ad platforms make it easy for malicious content to infect countless computers in the blink of an eye. As a result companies are increasingly taking extra precautions to protect site users.

But given lines are blurred around who's responsible for controlling malicious content, are companies just covering their own backs rather than protecting the consumer?

"The problem is sellers and publishers don't really know who the buyers are, they don't have that much control" says Jerome Segura.

"The site that is actually serving up the ad is in the firing line potentially as is the ad networks that helps bring that ad into fruition, but there are some exemptions" says Mark Taylor of law firm Osborne Clarke.

The recently-passed Consumer Rights Act does mention digital content and implies that content must be of satisfactory quality and 'fit for purpose'. While this seems relatively straightforward, the Act does require that a contract is present between the content provider and content consumer.

Do you feel as though you are entering a contract with every website you visit? Most likely the answer is no.

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