What is Malvertising Attack? How to Protect Against It?

Written By Sambita Panigrahy  
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh 
Published On September 18th, 2023
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading

Overview If you want to know about what is malvertising Attack and how you can take preventive measures to be an aid from these attacks then you have landed on the correct page. In this article, we will give you in-depth knowledge about how does an attacker use a malvertising attack . Also, you will be getting a preventive measures on malvertising Attack. So, Let us understand this indept with this guide. Follow this till the end and discover the dark side of online advertising’s rising threat. 

This is a kind of malicious advertisement, which can appear on almost any level of interaction between the users and the web application. Therefore, Malicious actors generate these malvertising attacks with the clear intention of spreading viruses and malware to the user’s computer or supported devices. 

Let us uncover the complexities of this steady cyber threat and learn how it can infiltrate your devices without you even knowing it. 

What is Malvertising Attacks– Deep Understanding

Malvertising attacks are those attacks in which attackers inject malicious code into legitimate online advertising networks. These codes typically redirect users to malicious websites. 

These advertising networks typically deliver infected ads to customers which is difficult for both internet users and publishers to detect them. All website visitors see adverts, thus almost everyone who visits a page is in danger.

This attack especially allows the attackers to target users on highly reputable websites, such as The New York Times Online, The London Stock Exchange, and The Atlantic. All of these have been exposed to malvertising attacks. Let us know what is malvertising attack by understanding it with the help of certain examples.

Examples of Malvertising Attacks

Malvertising attack is so common that big guns like Twitter, Spotify, BBC, and Forbes have also become their victims. In most cases, complex ad network is the root of attacks.

Organizations that become victims of this attack often fail maximum times to spot that early. And, by the time it got detected serious damage had already happened.

Have a look at some of the most famous examples of malvertising attacks

1. Rough Ted: This is a type of powerful malware that is managed to bypass anti-viruses and ad-blockers through a series of dynamic URLs. The attackers behind Rough Ted trick the ad exchange network, Amazon cloud infrastructure, and its Content Delivery Network (CDN) to carry out this malvertising attack.

2. KS Clean: This attack was conducted at a larger scale as it is a type of malicious campaign that targets malicious adverts within mobile apps. It was embedded in multiple apps and used to come into action as soon as the app was downloaded.

The malware then began to send out several messages claiming to have major security threats and issues. It offers a fake upgrade as a solution. 

Once the victim agrees to update, the attackers utilize the virus to gain access, which allows them to do anything they wish. 

After discussing what is malvertising attack, let us understand how this malware is injected. 

Also, read What is Backdoor Attack? 

How is Malware Injects Into the Advertisement? 

how to import into malverising attack

Now let us understand how an attacker uses a malvertising attack. For highly seasoned hackers, it is easy for them to perform malvertising activity. They are prepared with multiple ways to insert malicious content in advertisements. Have a look at the most preferred way by which attackers can be able to convert the ad into malvertising. 

1. Malicious post-clicks: The user has to navigate multiple redirects to reach the landing page of an advertisement. Skilled hackers can use such redirects to inject malware and infect the victim’s device or browser. 

2. Manipulated Ads: Once inside the ad network, cybercriminals create or modify ads to include malicious code. This code can be embedded within images, videos, or scripts associated with the advertisement.

3. Through Landing Pages of Reputed Websites: Hackers know how to secretly put bad code in places where you usually click on things, like a real webpage. They do this because people would not think twice about clicking on something on a website they trust. In the past, attacks on popular websites like Twitter and Facebook have affected many people because they trusted these sites. 

4. The malware payload: This delivered via malvertising can take various forms, such as ransomware, spyware, adware, banking trojans, or other types of malware. Once installed, it can carry out malicious activities, compromising the user’s security and privacy.

5. Corrupted Videos: Video players don’t come with built-in protection against harmful software. They sometimes allow third-party pixels without prior checks. Hackers usually infect the middle or end part of the video with their harmful code.

After learning about what is malvertising attacks, their harmful effects, and learning how it is performed, let us move toward the prevention part. 

How to Prevent a Malvertising Attack?

Fortunately, today most modern browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, or Edge are able to prevent dangers. So, it is better to stay prepared by regularly updating your browser.

However, if you’re concerned about your system and about how does an attacker use a malvertising attack, you should install specific browser extensions, such as ad-blockers. While difficult to prevent infection from a malvertising attack, users can take below mentioned preventive measures to reduce their risk:

1. Exercising Caution: Educating users about the significance of being cautious while clicking on online ads, avoiding suspicious websites, and refraining from downloading unknown software or files. This can simply reduce the risk of malvertising attacks. 

2. Well-protected Firewalls: Proper security policies and a wall-protected firewall can help in protecting from malicious codes. 

3. Strong Updated Antivirus: Users should install anti-virus software or ad blockers which reduce the risk of running a malicious advertisement. 

Also Read What is Cyber Espionage? 

Best Practices To Prevent Malvertising Attacks

Use caution and follow the safe side from these attacks. That involves downloading and installing new software, especially freeware. Before accepting any terms and conditions verify like a lawyer. 

To protect yourself against malvertising attacks, use updated and comprehensive Cyber security services with sophisticated threat detection. This advanced cyber security service protects you and your networks against the latest threats and monitors your assets 24X7 in order to minimize false activities. Therefore, with these proactive services, you can protect yourself.

cyber security services

Final Thought

Malvertising attacks pose a significant threat to individuals and businesses alike. After understanding what is malvertising attack and implementing proactive security services, you can protect your digital ecosystem. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and ensure a safer online experience for yourself and others. Hence, at last, start browsing safely and think thrice before clicking on any particular link. 

Once inside the ad network, cybercriminals create or modify ads to include malicious code. Images, videos, or scripts associated with the advertisements are all embedded with the codes. Additionally, it is important to understand what is malvertising attack entails. Images, videos, or scripts associated with the advertisements are all embedded with the codes. 

To know more about the services Contact the highly expert team.

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