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Malvertising: Everything you Need to Know

13 August, 2018

Here at Bob’s Business, we have noticed an increase in the amount of Malvertising cyber attacks as of late. Unfortunately, it is not common knowledge what malvertising is or how it can negatively affect organisations or individuals who fall into the trap. Below are some key pieces of information that will help give you a better understanding of malvertising.

What is Malvertising?

Malvertising is the act of placing harmful code into adverts which you often see when browsing the web. Criminals will place a small undetectable amount of code into an advert which means that when the advert loads, your computer or device will automatically download the malicious code.

The code in the advert essentially opens the door to your computer and can download additional files which usually contain much more harmful, malicious pieces of malware.

One of the programs that can be downloaded onto your machine is called a Keylogger, which records every letter you press on your keyboard. Keyloggers on your machine will wait until you enter login credentials for a website and steal them.

Who does Malvertising target?

Malvertising can target anyone but can be specifically targeted towards certain groups of people. Criminals may plant their malicious adverts on a website that covers golfing news - which subsequently means that their ideal target is golfers.

However, you may have to dig deeper into why that specific golfing site was chosen. Could it be because doctors or very high earners (CEOs) play golf and are more likely to visit the site? Or just because it’s a popular site and the security is pretty lackluster? It may not always be obvious at first but it can still affect anyone.

What to do if you fall victim to Malvertising?

Just like normal malware, your online account and bank login details can be harvested in the same way.

If you think you’ve fallen victim to Malvertising, it would be advisable to download anti-virus software to scan your PC to clear any potential malicious software.

If you logged into your email account at any point, ensure that it is the first password you change as otherwise hackers may still have access to that account.

It is our strong recommendation that you also change the passwords for any accounts that you may have accessed, including your online banking account. It will also be beneficial to add two-factor authentication onto those accounts.

How to avoid falling victim to Malvertising?

Adding an adblocker to your browser can prevent the threat Malvertising poses. An adblocker does exactly what the name says, it blocks all adverts on websites. If no ads are being displayed, you cannot download programs that infect your machine.

In addition, ensure that your browser and the corresponding plugins are updated, they often contain crucial software patches that can help prevent the malware from reaching your machine.

Make sure to have an up to date antivirus program installed on your computer system or device. Malvertising acts just like normal malware and can be detected then removed by any good antivirus program.

However, these should not be the only line of defence for your organisation as users still need to be aware of cyber threats like these, and organisations should not have to solely rely on software to save the day.

One recommendation from us is to have a robust training system implemented to make users aware of how to spot and protect against malware, prevention is better than a cure.

Our Cyber Security Awareness Training courses teach employees how to avoid malware, what to do in the event of a potential attack and what impact malware can have on your organisation.

If you’re interested in finding out about our cyber security training, click here for more information.

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