The Best Ways To Avoid the Chance To Become a Victim of Malvertising

A hacker will use malvertising to download malicious software onto a victim’s computer because they disguise a recognizable advertisement as malware that the victim clicks. Malware allows a hacker to access the victim’s computer, so a company could have a lot of valuable data stolen if they click a malvertising advertisement. Some types of malware have names like AuroraStealer, Meta Stealer, and Vidar, so the hacker uses these to access a victim’s computer when the victim clicks on a link they think is an advertisement. Some of the types of advertisements that a hacker will disguise the malware as are recognizable companies like Google Ads, Adobe, and Microsoft Teams, so the victim will assume they will click an ad that will lead to a webpage to purchase the product or service. Sometimes hackers will abandon approaches they previously used to gain access to victim’s computers because they feel the victims are now too aware of the process that they need to do something better; malvertising is an excellent example of this changing because experts have forecasted that hackers will be utilizing this approach more in 2023. 

           A warning sign to look for that an advertisement could be malvertising is an ad with a spelling mistake. If the hacker wants to create an ad that resembles a company such as Adobe for their Photoshop product but then spells the word photshop you could avoid becoming a victim of malvertising. Another warning sign that an advertisement could be malvertising is if you see an ad that does not relate to the websites you have recently visited. For example, if you consistently order your groceries for delivery and an advertisement is about a hair growth cure, it could be malvertising. This warning sign could be easier to spot than a spelling error because if something seems too good to be true, you get a gut instinct that it is not a trustworthy advertisement to click. If an ad with a spelling error looks sloppy, too, it is a better indication that it is malvertising. I know that clicking an appealing advertisement is second nature, so combing through an ad before clicking it might be annoying, but carefully looking could prevent you from becoming a victim of malvertising. 

           An excellent way to avoid becoming a malvertising victim is to download an ad blocker because this prevents most advertisements from showing on your computer, so the ratio that you become a malvertising victim is less. Some businesses cannot download an ad blocker because a company wants to track the web pages that customers visit on the website. Also, if a company buys advertisements to promote a product or service, the ad blocker might not have the configuration necessary to block ads and allow a company’s advertisements. Another good way to avoid becoming a malvertising victim is to participate in security training, and if you have employees, require them to participate in security training, too. The trainer will need to review some of the topics stated earlier, like spelling errors, relatable advertisements, and sloppiness. The last good way to avoid the chance of becoming a malvertising victim that I am going to go over is to disable Adobe Flash and Java. Both are sometimes used to create a website that will compel customers to buy products or services. There have been reports that Adobe Flash and Java can give a hacker an avenue to put malvertising on a potential victim’s computer, so if you or your employees do not need Adobe Flash or Java continue to avoid using them to prevent an extra avenue for a hacker. 

           Bill Hogan, the President at Partners Plus, Inc., is an information technology expert who provides realistic and up-to-date recommendations tailored to your company and the concerns you might face when you and your employees use devices. To avoid becoming a victim of malvertising, use these approaches! 

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