It’s enough to cause a bit of concern and “batten down the hatches” on the security of your computers and devices.
Over the course of the last month or two, we’ve noticed a rise in the number of calls we received regarding Malvertising.
Malvertising is the practice of incorporating malware (software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems) into online advertisements.
Malware, or software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems, can linger almost anywhere on the Internet that you can think of. Now, malware is even in online advertising on reputable websites.
Nowadays, Malvertising is becoming more prevalent. Creators of malvertising are able to launch highly targeted campaigns toward unsuspecting Internet surfers. Victims are infected with malware in the course of their normal Internet browsing and therefore have no idea where or how they were infected.
Tracing the source of the malware is next to impossible because the online advertisement that delivered the malware has usually long since disappeared. As reported in the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report, malvertising played a key role in the distribution of the ransomware named CryptoLocker.
Basic Anatomy Of A Malvertising Attack
1. A user on the Internet is simply browsing the Internet and clicks on a compelling advertisement (this even happens on reputable sites like Youtube.com and Reuters.com).
2. Unknowingly, the advertisement link goes to a malicious website that is designed to infect visitors of the website.
3. At this point, the victim may not know it, but visiting the malicious website or clicking on the wrong thing can cause a malware infection.
These malware infections can cause many problems including:
• Loss of data (including pictures, videos, etc.).
• Having your data held ransom (via ransomware).
• Loss of productivity.
• … And many others.
These infections are happening more and more which is why it’s best to have prevention and mitigation mechanisms in place.
Prevention Is Key
Prevention is the key to avoiding many malware infections. One of the first lines of defense (and maybe the best, and worst) is human behavior. If humans are able to surf the Internet cautiously, malware infections are kept to a minimum. However, all it takes is an overzealous person to cause a massive infection.
Here are a few initial actions that can be taken to mitigate infections (or at least keep your data intact, just in case an infection does occur):
• Make sure to keep regular on-going backups of your data.
• Make sure that you and the other users on your network browse the Internet cautiously.
• If you don’t already, make sure that you have Anti-Virus, AntiMalware, etc. software installed on your computer (along with all of the users on your network).
If you’re not sure how to protect yourself from these attacks or implement any of the above actions, don’t hesitate to contact us.