Unity Acquires Ironsource, and That’s No Good

ironSource is a company that's rather infamous for some of the adware you'll see around the internet, via fake installers, advertisements to other websites or games, toolbar malware, and more. Today, though, Unity acquired them, and that's... to say it's concerning would be a bit of an understatement, as companies under Unity are now liable to be damaged.

Unity Acquires IronSource, And That's No Good

Company mergers or acquisitions tend to happen in the video game industry; something like Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard is one such case. Today, though, comes in the form of Unity, owners of the titular Unity Engine, acquiring ironSource. You’re probably asking yourself, “What’s ironSource?” You’d be forgiven if you don’t immediately know that company, but it’s quite a problematic idea, all things considered.

ironSource, for the uninitiated, is probably better known for its malware delivery system, as pointed out by sh4na on Twitter. A thread, linked below, goes into a bit more detail relating to what IronSource is all about.

So, let’s break this down. Already, there’s a significant red flag in the form of it being known on MalwareBytes, and other parts of the internet even demonstrate how ironSource’s malware works. An article from Ben Edelman back in 2015 also notes similar history and tactics from the company, and Microsoft’s even blacklisted them from Windows entirely. Unity merging with ironSource isn’t exactly great-sounding, now, is it?

What makes this even worse, outside of Unity merging with an extremely predatory malware source, is what Unity-owned companies could be affected by it. Unity owns Parsec, a desktop streaming service for computers, as well as Weta Digital, Ziva Dynamics, and Vivox, to name some brands. Given that this is now a reality, what’s stopping ironSource from sneaking some of their malware into a Unity update, or in any of Unity’s other owned companies or software?

Even though there’s all this documentation available against ironSource, Unity still went through with it. For the sake of your own computer’s safety, going forward, you should probably avoid anything relating to Unity Engine downloads or advertisements from companies that are owned by Unity. Hopefully, Unity realizes that this isn’t a great idea and cancels the merger, but they probably won’t.

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