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02
Oct
2020
Watch Your Business Reputation - Malvertising on The Rise

Watch Your Business Reputation - Malvertising on The Rise

During the pandemic we see many companies pivot and update their websites to be more of a sales hub for them. Maybe you added an on-line store or videos to engage more people.  Whatever type of business you own, driving more traffic to your website has the potential for malvertising issues.  Have you heard of “malvertising”?

We blogged last year on malvertising but now we see this issue as a much bigger problem as companies have changed up their way of doing business and took the time to improve their online web presence.  Many businesses are now utilizing their websites as a digital sales tool instead of the face to face we were so used to prior to March 2020. 

This brings up the malvertising issue again especially since more people are spending more time on-line and purchasing products and services on-line.

What is malvertising, and how does it work?

"Malvertising" is an industry term for the way cybercriminals add malware to advertisements.

Yes that’s right, criminals controlling advertisements on the internet.  Usually through our browsers.  So what may look like legitimate online advertising is used to distribute malware and other threats to your computer with little to no interaction. 

Malvertising can appear anywhere, including websites you visit every day. It looks the same as traditional ads, but it redirects you to an unsecured webpage that adds malicious code to your computer or mobile device. Viruses and phishing software can then be installed on your device.

 

How Can Malvertising Harm Your Business?

Displayed ads can contain unwanted content such as ads for adult websites, illegal drugs, and fake products. This illicit content would affect users – especially minors who shouldn’t view such content.

Just a view of your website can initiate a download of malicious software on the visitor’s computer which can lead to the visitor’s computer being hijacked.   By clicking on one of these ads could direct the visitor to these malicious websites.  These websites again could be adult sites, phishing attack sites or ones that force a malware download and many will carry out social engineering attacks that manipulate individuals into divulging confidential or personal information.

What's at stake?

REPUTATION!

As the ad spreads malware and unwanted content, it will affect your reputation. By falling victim to the attacks, users lose trust in your site. It can seriously damage your brand image.

SLOW SITE SPEED & PERFORMANCE!

Malicious advertisements are known for using up excessive web server resources.

HIGHER BOUNCE RATE EFFECTING SEO!

If the ads redirect your visitors to malicious sites, your bounce rate will increase and network traffic will drop. This will have long-lasting detrimental effects on your SEO efforts.

BLACKLIST!

If Google detects malware on your website, they blacklist your site. Your visitors will see a warning on their browsers when they visit your site, typically a message or a red screen containing the keyword 'malware' will show up.

What to do?

Be sure to protect your own computers and servers when dealing with suspect ads, as you can also be a victim of malware from the malicious ads. You could be targeted with ransomware that locks down your whole website, so be sure to keep backups and strong anti-malware software in place.

As a visitor, always think before you click on anything. Be skeptical about any suspiciously alarming notices and watch out for the “too-good-to-be-true” pop-up offers you receive. Never clicking on suspect ads still won’t protect you against any malvertising living on reputable sites, but it will decrease your odds of getting hit by much of what the criminals send to you because malvertising relies on your click to deliver its malware payload.

As a business, maintain employee browsers, browser plug-ins, operating system, and anti-malware software with all available security updates installed.  Train your employees often on what to do and to avoid just clicking on anything.

What does navitend do? 

We have tools to push back this threat in 2020. Between a robust patch management campaign, user education, firewalls, and network monitoring, malvertising can be neutralized.

We invite you to review our previous blog called "Have Your Heard of Malvertising?"   

navitend can help you.  Call 973.448.0070 or setup an appointment today.  Book Now

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