Malvertising is a type of cyber attack that unfortunately happens often these days, but is seldom discussed. The definition of a malvertising attack is one where a hacker or cyber criminal infiltrates an advertisement on a website with malware and viruses, unbeknownst to the website owner, that ultimately infect the computers of anyone who views the website or clicks on the ad. The result is that the malvertising architect, the cyber criminal, now has access to millions of consumer’s websites simply because they visited a website they may frequent on a daily basis.

Sometimes malvertisements are placed on the website by the website owners, who communicate directly with what ends up being a cyber criminal, and sometimes these hackers get their ads included in an online advertising network’s portfolio, which is placed on their client’s websites.

Unfortunately, these infected malvertising ads go undetected by the website owns or their online ad networks for weeks or months, meantime infected millions of computers around the world. The reason the malware laden ads go undetected for so long is because they have no affect on the actual website so there are no alerts or red flags that signal to the website owner that something is wrong.

Additionally, if a consumer visits 100 different websites in a day and then realizes the next day that they have malware installed on their computer but they know that they did not actually click on any ads while perusing the Internet the day before, they would have no way of knowing where the infection came from. This is one of the most unfortunate parts of malvertisements – it does not require the consumer to actual click on an ad in order to get the malware.

There are a couple things that a consumer can do to prevent infection by a malvertisement.

  • 1First, a consumer can set up their website browser or use a website browser that will detect malware ads on websites. Google Chrome is a great example of a website browser that has the detection abilities to prevent a user from engaging with an infected website.
  • 2Second, you should always install antivirus software to protect your computer.
  • 3Third, these cyber criminals often use Adobe Flash products to install their malware, so it's important to keep this program updated.
  • 4Finally, installing an ad blocking software that will remove ads from websites is another great way to prevent malvertisements.

Take a look at the articles below for more information on how you can protect yourself against an infection by a malvertisement.

What is Malvertising? What is Malvertising?

Malvertising is a relatively vague and unknown cyber security issue, which is hidden in advertisements places on the websites we frequent every day. Malvertising has not only increased in popularity over the years, but also affects millions of unsuspecting consumers and companies every year without their knowledge.

BBC Malvertising Cyber Attack BBC Malvertising Cyber Attack

The BBC website was the victim of a malvertising cyber attack on March 13, 2016 along with several other high profile and frequently visited websites. Hackers were able to infect BBC customer's computers with ransomware and malware without being detected.

Netherlands’ Website Malvertising Attack Netherlands’ Website Malvertising Attack

288 of the Netherlands' most popular websites were victimized by a malvertising attack in April 2016 that affected many millions of consumers who frequently visited the website. All of the websites used the same advertising platform.

Have You Been Hacked?

Check to see if your personal data was compromised.

*Cyber breach data provided by Have I Been Pwned
Have You Been Hacked? Becomes Victim of Malvertising Attack Becomes Victim of Malvertising Attack was a victim of a malvertising attack in March 2016. This was at least their third malvertising attack in recent years.

Malvertising Cyber Attack Hits Gumtree Malvertising Cyber Attack Hits Gumtree

Australia's largest classified ads website, Gumtree, was hit with a malvertising attack. The malware was hidden in an advertisement for a local law firm, who was not aware that their ad was infected.