What is malvertising and should I be concerned

6 July 2023

Malvertising, the use of malicious advertisements to spread malware and compromise users’ systems, poses a significant threat in the digital landscape. Preventing malvertising requires a multi-layered approach that combines user awareness, ad network scrutiny, and security measures. Malvertising disguises malicious code inside legitimate online advertising, ad networks may find it hard to stop malvertising from appearing as legitimate ads.  Here are some key steps to protect yourself from malvertising.

First and foremost, keep your software and web browsers up to date. Regularly install updates and patches, as they often include security fixes that address vulnerabilities exploited by malvertisements.

Enable ad-blocking software or browser extensions. These tools can effectively block or filter out malicious ads, reducing the risk of encountering malvertising campaigns.

Exercise caution when clicking on online advertisements. Be sceptical of ads that offer unrealistic promises or seem too good to be true. Stick to reputable websites and avoid clicking on suspicious ads or pop-ups.

Consider using a trusted security suite or anti-malware software. These tools can provide an extra layer of protection by detecting and blocking malicious ads or scripts.

Disable or restrict plugins and browser features that are not necessary for your browsing experience. This reduces the attack surface and minimizes the risk of encountering malvertisements. In particular don’t use Java or Flash. The Flash player is vulnerable to cyberthreats since it’s an outdated plugin. Java is another plugin that allows software to be executed within your browser and carries a high risk of being abused to circumvent security measures on your device.

Implement content filtering solutions at the network level. These solutions can block known malicious domains or prevent certain types of advertisements from being displayed, reducing the likelihood of malvertising reaching your network.

Educate yourself about the latest trends and techniques used by malvertisers. Stay informed about new threats and common tactics employed in malvertising campaigns. This knowledge will help you recognize and avoid potentially malicious advertisements.

By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of encountering malvertising and protect yourself from potential malware infections and other cyber threats. Stay vigilant, stay updated, educate and prioritize your online security to ensure a safer browsing experience.

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