Here's What You Need To Know About Malvertising
When the global malware cost is already staggering, it is anticipated that on the current trajectory that it will reach around $6 trillion by the end of 2021. Well, do you know how does malvertising affects individuals and even businesses? How to avoid malvertising and its effects? To know the answers, you need to know the "malvertising" first.
What is Malvertising?
Malvertising is a practice to spread malware using different web advertisements. It is also known as "malicious advertising" that infect your computers. It can be anything from ransomware to adware, to a certain coding that changes your router settings and harm your device. Cryptojackers, Botnets and Banking Trojans are some names that come top in the list of cyber threats.
Well, judging and putting a specific figure on the scale of malvertising is quite hard as it doesn't come with red-flags. It is rapid and high-impact, which end up producing detrimental effects on even high-profile websites. A malvertising attack is such a large threat that can work in various methods. However, here are 2 common techniques that affect the websites as well as users.
❏ Pre-click: Some malvertising campaigns use a special script or coding that automatically downloaded in the device as the ad loads. This means a user doesn't have to click anywhere but visiting the page where the ad loads are enough. In this method, an attacker can easily set up a malvertising redirect chain on a landing page that increases the bounce rate of the website.
❏ Post Click: As its name sounds, this attack happens when a user clicks on the malicious ad or link. An attacker uses malvertising redirects that make uses moving through several malicious pages. Malvertising through post-clicks can happen through images, links, pages and ads.
How does it work?
Well, the malicious ads are often designed with a call-to-action that encourages viewers to click. As maximum visitors won't be able to distinguish between the reliable ads and harmful ones, attackers use redirects to send visitors to the malicious page. Most of the visitors remain ignorant as they expect redirects due to clicking on the ad. And the code starts running in the background to download malicious software onto the device. This unintentional download of malicious software or virus is called 'drive-by download'. Mostly, attackers use this 'drive-by download' method to install ransomware onto the targeted computers.
In certain advanced malvertising, attackers install malware directly to the devices from the legitimate site that just displays the ad without interacting with the visitors. This can be devastating to a user and even the organization. Most often, companies rely on software and even the third-party vendors for their online ad management that put them into potential risk.
It is not just about clicking malicious ads, malvertising can also be done and harm your device through some sketchier side of the internet. Illegal streaming sites offering flash games, sites offering free cracks/ software/ warez/ keygens, torrent sites, online dating sites, betting sites etc. contain injected malicious ads. These ads affect billions of users and perpetually block access.
Who has been infected in this serious cyber threat?
Well, anybody can be a victim of malvertising. Attackers target clean and reputed places with a huge number of visitors. Some high-profile companies have been infected previously with malvertising including, Reuters, Huffington Post and The Daily Mail. Let's talk about the case of the Huffington Post for instance. The attackers used the mix of HTTPS and HTTP redirects to hide the malicious servers. It was quite hard to uncover the hidden server that made the analysis extremely difficult.
These sites themselves weren't infected and the ad providers were unknown about blasting malicious ads onto the millions of computers. Researchers and Analysts suspected that the attackers used the Sweet Orange exploit kit and NeutrinoEK exploit kit, that served VB script and Adobe Flash exploits to then download the serious malware, "Kovter trojan".
What are the measures to avoid malvertising?
Due to the inconspicuous nature, avoiding a cyber threat like malvertising is quite difficult. But there are certain precautionary measures you can take:
● Reliable Security Solution: First of all, it is crucial to have a reliable security solution in place. You can get in touch with your IT provider to learn further information about security options.
● Ensure New Updates: As the tech world is changing regularly, it is also important to update your software, browser and OS with their new versions to battle new threats.
● Avoid Bad Websites: It is one of the most important things you should consider. You should always make sure that the source is legitimate, secure and reputable.
● Good Antivirus Installation: This will be your first line of defence to avoid malvertising and related cyber threats. A good antivirus installation will help your work hassle-free and smoothly on your computer.
● Use an Adblocker: You can use an ad blocker to avoid any suspicious advertisements display on your website. Also, this will help you avoid clicking on the potentially harmful ads.
● Avoid Clicking On Sketchy Advertisements: Lastly, don't click on sketchy advertisements. It is recommended that if you see anything enticing in the ad, visit the website from your browser directly and make sure that it is legit.
However, avoiding bad websites and clicking ads won't always be considered as precautionary measures against cyber threats like malvertising. It is crucial to incorporate reliable security solutions while keeping your computer/software up-to-date with the latest versions.
There are some companies that claim to provide the best cybersecurity services, but choosing the one that meets your expectations in terms of timely and quality support is important. CTG Tech is known for offering the top-quality cyber security solutions in Arlington, Dallas and Fort worth. From network security to advanced cybersecurity, CTG Tech offers comprehensive solutions to your unique IT needs.