Malvertising is a hybrid of the words “malicious advertising.” Essentially, it’s a form of malware that is in the form of ads online. These days, it’s completely normal to find ads on most websites, however not all ads are legitimate.
How Malvertising Works
There are two main ways in which malvertising functions: by attacking a legitimate ad’s code, or by creating a malicious ad that an unsuspecting website would host on their page.
Once the malicious ad is up, both the website where it is hosted and any users who come across the ad are then vulnerable to the cyber attack that can result in a malware infection, such as ransomware.
This is a sophisticated form of malware, as cyber criminals are able to target ads based on keywords or a user’s Internet activity, similar to how legitimate companies purchase and use ads online.
3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Malvertising
- The best way to keep your computer safe while still enjoying the freedom of browsing the Internet is to use an antivirus program that offers internet security protection. Additionally, if you notice the signs of a malware infection shortly after browsing online, you can run a quick scan with your antivirus program to ensure any possible malware threats are captured.
- Another way to stay safe online and protect yourself from malvertising is to visit trusted sites, and be mindful of any ads you click on. If you get an unsolicited pop-up prompting you to visit a site or download a program you are not familiar with, it’s best to skip following through on their request.
- Use an ad blocker plugin on your web browser. Ad blockers can disable unwanted ads and pop-ups, which can often be the hosts of malvertising attempts from cyber criminals.