Many news organizations make a sizable profit by renting out virtual ad space on their websites. They usually rent out ad space to third-party ad networks, such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. However, cybercriminals are now inserting malicious code into online advertising to infect unsuspecting website visitors. Unlike malicious advertising of the past, visitors do not need to click on the ads; they just need to see them. From there, the visitor will discover spyware and/or ransomware on their computer. These types of malware can slow down devices, record keystrokes, and encrypt files.

How do malvertising attacks work?

  1. Cybercriminals will upload malicious Flash multimedia to an ad network
  2. The ad network accepts the ad and stores it in its database to serve to viewers later
  3. Advertisers will bid on the opportunity to serve their ads to a target audience
  4. The ad network will serve ads to the cybercriminal’s desired audience
  5. When a user visits the website, the ad will display, and the malicious code will download to their computer
  6. The code will then search for a backdoor through unpatched software, especially Flash, Java, and Silverlight
  7. Once the code finds the backdoor, it will install malware onto the device

How can you protect yourself from malvertising attacks?

  • Keeping your web browser updated
  • Adjust your web browser setting so multimedia ads will not run automatically unless you click on them.
  • Use adblocking software, such as Adblock Plus
  • Keep browser plugins updated
  • Disabling or uninstalling plugins you do not use
  • Limiting the number of employee accounts that can install software on their computers
  • Installing software that will monitor and protect your web browser from exploit attempts

SwiftTech Solutions can help your staff stay protected against the dangers of web browsing. Contact us by calling 877-794-3811 or emailing for more information about our network security services.

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