Thursday, August 4, 2016

What You Should Know About Malvertising, the Latest Malware Trend


Most people who are relatively internet and computer savvy are familiar with malware, the all-encompassing term that covers viruses, phishing, trojan horses and more. Recently a new subset of malware commonly referred to as “advertising” has begun to pop up, and it is creating headaches for web users across the globe.

Malvertising works by turning internet ads and popups into a method for delivering malware into your computer. Cyber criminals are using malvertising in a couple main ways. First, they use all tactics at their disposal to get users to click on the button to download malicious software. Second, they figure out ways to attack web browsers and common plug-in software through holes in cyber security.

Here are a few things about malvertising that you should be aware of:


Ad Blocker
Your ad blocker is not a solution: Many people run ad blockers on their browsers, and while this does prevent you from seeing advertisements, it is not a foolproof safeguard against malvertising. Malware can also be delivered to computers through emails, instant message programs and more. While ad blockers can be helpful in preventing malvertising from affecting your internet browsing life, they are not the be-all, end-all solution.

Malvertising is effective
Malvertising is extremely effective. Malvertising, like advertising, is all about strategy. It is not always obvious, as its main goal is to convince you to download the malware to your computer yourself. It could even invade a completely legitimate website by hijacking an advertisement. Basically, it’s doing everything it can to get you to click on it.

Many websites are innocent: It’s important to keep in mind that just because a website has been affected by malvertising does not mean the website itself is complicit. Malvertising attacks the ad networks, not the websites. Because it can use this tactic to get on to legitimate sites, it can become very tricky for consumers to determine what is and is not malvertising.

Windows OS
Most attacks affect Windows: This is not to say that Linux and Mac systems are completely safe from malvertising. However, most attacks that have taken place so far have affected Windows systems.

There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you are protecting yourself against Malvertising. Always keep your browser and its plugins updated to the latest version. Use ad blockers as a tool, but not as your entire defense strategy. Finally, work with a team of cyber security professionals who you know will be your safeguard against these types of attacks.