Cyber-attacks have become an everyday news in today’s times. With each passing day, hackers are becoming smarter and working out new ways to target our machines. Malvertising a relatively recent term driving the tech headlines has left most of wondering what it is all about? How it works and how dangerous can it prove to be?
In this blog we will try to give a simplified yet detailed insight into Malvertising.
What is Malvertising?
It is the cyber threat which delivers malware through online ads. It has grown drastically since last year and has since gained quite some negative publicity.
More often than not, most of us confuse Adware and Malvertising to be the same, which isn’t true. Adwares fill your web pages with toolbar, add extension but are not always malicious. Whereas cybercriminals use Malvertising to hide infectious code in an ad. Your machine can get infected even when you don’t click on the ad. It takes place when attackers buy an ad space on a popular website and load it with infectious ads.
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How does it work?
Attackers enter the network of an online advertisement selling company and steal all data from there. Then they pass themselves to these clients disguising as genuine advertisers to post ad. These ads contain a malicious code in Java.
To lure users they use trusted, popular sites with huge database like Youtube, MSN, Yahoo etc. Don’t worry as the websites themselves are not infected and neither do the ad providers know they’re sending malicious ads to millions of computers.
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What Happens When You Click on These Ads?
As soon as you open the webpage rigged with the malicious code, the exploit starts to carry out on your system. Even if you don’t click on the ad then also the malware will install on your system. No one knows how dangerous it can be. You may end up installing a banking trojan which is designed to steal your banking details or any other dreadful malware.
Many organizations have already suffered due to Malvertising like, The New York Times, Huffington Post, Daily Motion, Forbes and others. Not only this, adult sites like YouPorn also suffered Malvertising attacks.
How to Stay Protected?
Use an updated anti-virus and keep your operating system updated. This is the first line of defense one should never miss. OS updates have security patches which play a key role in protecting your data.
Use an ad blocker as you never know when you become a target of the hackers. Also, use a noscript extension to stay protected.
Use updated plugins, developers regularly release update with fixes to fill in the security gaps. Therefore, using them is a good idea.
Use an updated web browser as there may be some updates that are capable to handle Malvertising attacks. It is a good way to stay protected.
Also Read: Mac Malware: A Brief History
With all these tips and tricks, you can protect your machine from malvertisements and keep cyber criminals at bay. A simple advertisement can prove dangerous. Therefore, think before your click on anything while online.