Those on Spotify sans a premium subscription already know the caveat of listening for free on the music-streaming service: advertisements. While some non-premium subscribers can tolerate the 30-seconders that persuade them to join millions of others on premium, advertisements that voluntarily install malware on your computer is another story altogether.

A number of free Spotify listeners have reported that some advertisements had been accompanied with a malicious virus, specifically, malware, forcing the listener's default browser to pop open an ad that contains the virus, attempting to compromise the listener's system.

The malware was reported not to be platform-specific, given that within the reports, it can be confirmed that the incident occurred in the three major platforms: Mac, Windows and Linux.

Spotify was quick to administer damage control but chose to be laconic when pressed on the incident. Spotify told Engadget that the infected advertisements were "a result of an isolated issue with an ad on [Spotify's] free tier," which has now been "shut down," with no clear explanation of the cause. But Spotify noted that it will continue to monitor the situation.

Over at the Spotify community forums on Tuesday, Oct. 4, user "tonyonly" reported the incident, adding that the purported malware sometimes doesn't require any form of input from the user, voluntarily harming the system without clicking anything. Numerous users quickly chimed in, confirming that Spotify has also been behaving in a similar fashion. They reported that ads would pop up in their default browser at intervals of five or 10 minutes.

This incident was not the first of its kind for Spotify. A similar incident occurred in 2011 when the desktop version of Spotify was reported to pop up virus-containing advertisements that did not require user input to issue its infection, much like the incident now. While this incident and the one now are chronologically distant from one another, there's no assuring that the problem won't occur again sometime in the future. Spotify should be wary of this, lest users rebuff the service altogether for panic of infection.

While Spotify has assured that it has remedied the problem, it's still a good idea to check your system for malware and other viruses if you've been using free Spotify for the last few weeks.

Free counterparts to premium services are almost always supported through advertising, and that means you risk exposing your system to possible malware and viruses. If you want to avoid the possible risk, you can always opt for a premium subscription for $9.99 a month, or if you don't have the liberty to shell out that amount of money right now, you can install your preferred antivirus software just to be safe.

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