I use a Mac with Safari. I have found that when I visit Physics Stack Exchange an app entitled managerpages tries to install itself. Has anyone else had this problem?

Update: I have now experienced this several times. (The app is easy to delete). In some cases an app entitled coveropen installed itself, but it seemed to have identical properties and appearance to manager pages, so I suspect it is a variation of the same program.

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    When upvoting to indicate one has seen the same thing: please add a comment indicating that (and adding detail) as well?
    – Arjan
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 13:35
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    @MartijnPieters Strongest Objection: If an advert on SE delivers this, then SE is infected! A site that delivers these useless ads and carries the malware along is to be held responsible! SE being a Typhoid Mary is unacceptable. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 13:37
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    by an app, you mean extension? What prompt is shown? I think it would be extension gallery prompt. Also mention your Safari version. Safari 13 disallows all such extensions.
    – anki
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 14:11
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    When I google manager pages, I get hits about ModX. I have no idea if this is a clue or not.... Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 14:18
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    @LаngLаngС: no, then the advert manager platform has failed to prevent a malicious advert from having been shown to users. Stack Exchange uses a 3rd-party advert manager, from Google. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 14:35
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    If this was an advert, then you want to report this to the advertisement platform. Adverts have a little icon on them that looks like a double triangle or arrow to the right. Click on that icon when you next see such an advert and the advert information page that opens up will let you report that advert to Google, look for the link labelled Report bad ads. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 14:41
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    Knowing this distribution/diffusion of responsibility effect and that pointing fingers for guilt is popular. But the user doesn't want any ads nor 3rd party malware, but just an SE page. User only requests SE page and gets malware? Then this is effectively from SE. Punitive damages should be collected from SE as well as the advert manager and the malware maker. SE forced the ads, tolerated the delivery. If it turns out to be malware by ad, will SE sever ties with the malware-manager? Hoping this to be false alarm: malware-ads are the responsibility of all that force them onto users. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 14:45
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    @LаngLаngС: then use an ad blocker. Or report the ad to Google. This is not something Stack Exchange or the community here can solve. No amount of grumbling here about who should be responsible here will change that. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 14:58
  • @LаngLаngС and if you fear that malware actually manages to install itself without user interaction, you can take that up with the browser vendors, as that'd be a serious security problem. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:00
  • @MartijnPieters Well, they could complain to Google if that happens again. If it becomes a real problem then they can chose another ad provider (yeah, I know, probably not that easy, but still). Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:05
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    @MaartenBodewes: sure, if this becomes a systemic problem, then SE can choose to switch. Its in the best interest of the Google Ads platform team to not let it come to that. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:10
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    I mention that here, as here you promote the diffusion of responsibility as acceptable. For SE: Don't use any ads, host them curated by yourself… Lot's of options. Not necessary to celebrate the unacceptable situation as best of all possible worlds with no change possible. What you might as well state here is that "Yes, (while our own servers apper clean) because you visited SE you experienced our loss of control over 3rd party resources we let others load onto your machine"? Browser vendors don't mandate 3rd party ads! Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:14
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    @MartijnPieters, if SE includes ads on it's pages, SE is responsible for them. It isn't the site users' responsibility to solve the problem for SE so they can safely look at ads. If people need to use ad blockers to avoid malicious ads when visiting SE sites, SE won't get much revenue from ads.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:50
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    Unfortunately, very related and almost a dup: meta.stackexchange.com/q/334537/176034 Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 18:43
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    You should use an adblocker. I recommend uBlock Origin, be aware about fake ad blockers. and I agree with what @LаngLаngС said about SE being Typhoid Mary with it's ads
    – Vishwa
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 4:29

3 Answers 3


Use an adblocker. SE has little to no control about the garbage from the bottom of the heap that ads networks are inserting in those pages. So, SE can't really control if those ads eventually delivers malware, and they really do sometimes.

Nowadays, most ads are spammy tracking porn content that abuse consumer CPU, memory, and network to mine bitcoins and deliver malware. And this is really cool if you are billed by the amount of traffic that your network produces.

No ad network is trustworthy. All of them aggressively just wants to earn some easy money by delivering crap to consumers that didn't request it. It is becoming impractical to use the Internet nowadays without a good adblocker and the tendency is that this will just get worse.

Any business model that depends on ads to keep the money coming in is no more sustainable than a Ponzi scheme. If SE really needs those pesky ads to keep the servers running, staff working and bills being paid, then I have some very bad news for you. I hope that the new CEO finds a way out of this.

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    Q: "I'm seeing malware served with SE ads. Is SE infected? Should this happen?" A: "Use an ad-blocker" WHile this might be a solution to the problem, I don't think it's really an answer.
    – Flyto
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 21:28
  • @Flyto Edited to make it clear about that, but not that I really thinks that it is needed. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 0:14
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    I disagree. You could use BuySellAds or CarbonAds or CodeFund.io ads for the tech site sites. These ad platforms never include inappropriate content (they are specifically for tech audiences)
    – bzr
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 22:51
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    A site may have no control over the ads that gets inserted. But it has control on the trash networks it chooses to use, and has the responsibility to choose based on legality and affordability instead of just choosing the one that pays off the most...
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 9:42

No, the network of sites itself is not infected. It appears you ran into a bad advertisement that was shown on a page you visited.

Stack Exchange currently uses the Google Ads platform to show ads on Stack Exchange sites. Ads are provided by third parties through the Google Display Network, (mostly?) outside the control of Stack Exchange. As such there can be bad adverts. Google does try to prevent this from happening, but can't always detect ads that try to bypass the restrictions in place.

You can report these ads to Google by clicking on the AdChoice icon found on adverts:

Portion of an advert with the AdChoice icon, a double triangle pointing to the right, circled in red with a freehand-drawn line

Clicking on that takes you to a page with more information about the advert, including a link to report bad adverts:

Portion of the Google advert information page, with the text "Report bad ads. Go to the ad feedback form" indicated with a hand-drawn circle in red.

Malicious ads will do their utmost to make their 'app' look legitimate, trying to trick you into downloading it and installing (or accepting a browser extension, etc.). But, without your interaction, even adverts are not normally capable of installing additional software on your computer without your express permission (otherwise that'd be a very serious security issue with browsers, in general). Reporting the ad is the quickest way to have it removed from circulation.

Another option is to install an ad blocker, and not see adverts (good or bad) at all. Take into account that you need to weigh that choice against the fact that Stack Exchange tries to keep the lights on for these sites, in part, with money made from placing adverts. I'm neutral in that choice, I'm not advocating for or against using a blocker.

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    Privacy Badger recognizes trackers by their appearance across multiple domains, and then blocks them. When SE changed their ad policy I stopped seeing ads on SE, because Privacy Badger noticed the change. The old ads were always shown without issue. That balance is just right for me.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:41
  • Having read up a bit about the currently running as experiments it appears that SE is also rotating among different ad networks. I don’t know at what frequency providers are swapped out, but it may be that not all ads are being served via the Google ad network right now. Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 0:22
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    The address bar shows stackexchange.com. Everything on the page is the direct responsibility of Stack Exchange Inc.
    – AlexP
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 20:22
  • @AlexP: I'm trying to give users some agency over what they can do now. There are other posts addressed at the company with feedback on the current ad network experiments, this is not that post. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 16:15

It is unlikely that Stack Exchange is infected. I think it is more likely that it it is your (and my) computer.

The same thing happened to me but on a different website (JSTOR.org which has no ads) yesterday also on Safari. I don't know a lot but it looks like this is a new malware of some kind. Google does not turn up anything about a mac app called managerpages.

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    While it is interesting that this happened to you on a different site, this isn't really an answer to the question stated. You don't yet have enough reputation on Meta.SE to comment, but that doesn't mean you can use answers instead. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:04
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    @MartijnPieters Since this is Meta, this seems like a perfectly acceptable use of the answer space, and it does provide useful new information. There's no need to be rude.
    – mattdm
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:11
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    @mattdm: it's not that useful though; we don't know if it was an advert there too, or what browser was used, or what site this was. The only interesting point of data is that the OP thinks they have seen the same thing yesterday, adding a small datapoint to the 'this was an advert on the Google Ads network' hypothesis. However, it still may be the same thing or it may be something else. I'm just giving the user feedback on using answers, even on Meta we'd expect a bit more from an answer post. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:20
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    How about: "Thanks for the additional information! To help figure out the problem more, it would be really useful if you could edit your answer to include the name of the other website and what browser you used...."
    – mattdm
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:23
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    If one of the mods could just turn this into a comment, everything is fine again.
    – Mast
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:33
  • @mattdm The comment in question is a canned comment that is generated by the system on the user's behalf when making a review through the Low Quality Posts queue. I agree it could be rephrased to sound less in-your-face, but please don't hold it against them. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 21:40
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog Not to be all quibbly, but the comment I'm reply to is not the canned comment.
    – mattdm
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 22:15
  • @mattdm Ah, sorry, I misread your comment and made an incorrect mental substitution. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 22:17
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    I apologize. I clarified to more clearly answer the question. I have not contributed to SE before. If my answer breaks rules I can delete it.
    – lohborn
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 16:08

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