Questionable ads on websites is nothing new for the average Internet user. In the past, banners and other ads that were potentially malicious were easily distinguished by shoddy graphics and blinking colors, but there are new methods of spreading malware through online advertisements that are not as detectable.
As the Internet has grown, different news providers, bloggers and other websites have started using advertising on sites. Now, when checking certain sites, you can see a pair of shoes you were looking at a few days earlier or other offers from retailers and other sites you regularly visit. These ads may seem legitimate, but that isn’t always the case.
Malicious advertising, or malvertising, preys on vulnerabilities in a computer’s system by uploading malicious code and Flash objects to an ad network so these objects are circulated like normal Internet advertisements. This new form of malware distribution doesn’t require Internet users to visit any sketchy sites, and instead distributes malicious content through trusted websites.
Even though malware distribution is becoming more sophisticated, there are certain precautions that a user can take to minimize the chance of falling victim to malvertising. The first tip is to make sure all parts of the computer’s system are up-to-date, especially security measures. Secondly, when visiting a website, be safe and don’t click on any of the ads. They may seem legitimate, but it’s safer to access the advertiser’s site by going through a trusted domain, instead of a clickable advertisement.