Cyber Security, Identity Theft

Malvertising – Ads that come with Malware


Malvertising is the latest cyber scam to be on the lookout for

There’s a new cyber scam out there, known as Malvertising. This is an ad scam, that appears as an “Advertised” online search query that redirects you to a tech support page. The page then prompts you to provide your personal information or may ask you to call a number, which attempts to solicit personal details for malicious use.

To put it simply, malvertising uses a simple spoofing technique, similar to the way that telemarketers spoof a phone number. The cyber criminals use trusted websites like Amazon, Walmart and other big name online shopping destinations to lure victims into clicking on the link. The link then redirects from the trusted website to a different URL address and attempts to scare the user with a threat of a virus, requesting that the user then call an 800 number or download a software program to remove a non-existent “Malicious File.”  Malvertising has quickly become an effective method to steal someone’s personal information, because the average web user doesn’t pay attention to the sponsored ad icon to the left of each search result.

A few safe browsing habits include:

  • Always check that the URL’s match the title in the search description. If the URL’s do not correspond, avoid clicking on them.
  • Avoid clicking on sponsored ad links to trusted online stores or financial institution. You are better off just typing in the trusted website address manually.
  • If you notice a popup window or an ad urging that you call tech support, do not click on the window or advertisement. You are better off, calling your computer tech support provider directly.
  • Block malicious scripts and Adware with browser add-ons (i.e. NoScript, Adware Medic, ScriptBlock etc)
  • Use common sense. The FBI will not send you a pop up if your computer has a virus. Always think twice before you click and remember that most cyber criminals prey on human error to infiltrate your computer.

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