Malvertising, formally known as Malicious advertising is one of the most popular ways which attackers and people with malicious intent use to spread Malware to targeted systems. Infact, 1 in every 100 advertisements you see online is a Malvertisement injected by Malware.
The attackers basically uses online advertisements in the websites you visit to deliver different kind of Malware to your system. The worst part about this method of spreading Malware is that it requires almost no interaction from the user to affect his system.
How Malvertising works:
Malvertising attacks generally begin by the atackers submitting some kind of malicious advertisement in the form of text, image or a video to the advertising agencies. This malicious advertisement might be delivered to the users visiting the websites associated with these advertising networks and they often appear in the form of legitimate advertisements.
Most of these Malvertisements come in the form of pop up ads or flashy warning or alerts that attract or scare the users into clicking them immediately. This might even be a warning message saying that your browser has been infected by a Malware and click here to remove it, ironically. So, in a way these attackers also heavily rely on social engineering for spreading their Malware, however some of them do not even need any kind of interaction from the user to get downloaded to his system.
So, once you click on a Malvertisement in the website you just visited or sometimes when you just load a webpage that contains a malicious advertisement, the following things happen.
- The malicious code embedded into the malvertisement will now get executed and the Malware will be installed on the target system.
- The user might get redirected to a malicious website which hosts the Malware.
- Redirect you to a fake version of an official website to trick you into gathering your personal and confidential information.
- Try to exploit your browser using any existing vulnerabilities and install any toolbars or malicious extensions.
Tips to protect yourself from Malvertising:
In General, a proactive nature is highly essential to protect yourself from getting infected by a Malware and the consequences. The following are some of the tips which you could follow to save yourself from a Malware attack.
- The most common Malvertising attacks occur is through your web browser. So, it is important that you keep all your browsers and the software that connect to the internet updated to the latest versions at all times.
- Try using an ad blocker on unknown sites to prevent pop up and redirect ads.
- Use an anti virus program and corresponding extension on your browser to scan and eliminate any malicious files and to block the downloads of Malware to your system.
- Resist yourself from clicking on suspicious ads or links and make sure not to open any links or emails sent to you by unknown source or untrusted sources.
- Check your list of installed programs and browser extensions regularly and uninstall any unnecessary ones.
Worst comes to worse, after taking all these precautions you might still be a victim to a Malvertising attack. So, it is always better to keep a local backup copy of all your important files.
This will help you to restore all your data in case of a Malware attack when you can just format your entire system and restore your data and start fresh and simply hope that you would be safer this time.
Let us know in the comments below what you know about Malvertising and If you know any other tips to prevent a Malware from infecting your device.