A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Malvertising

Can you believe online threats? There seems to be a never-ending list of them, and just when you think you’re safe from one, you learn that you have to protect yourself from another. Malvertising is one of the fastest growing online security threats you need to watch out for.

Malvertising is a blend of malware and advertising and is a technique used by cybercriminals to spread malware covertly. They buy ad space on legitimate websites and use malicious ads on those spaces. Malvertising is so prevalent that 1 in every 100 ads is impacted by disruptive or malicious ads.

Google has been blocking millions of ads that attempt to send people to malware-laden websites or trick them into installing unwanted software. The most significant problem with malicious advertising is that it looks indistinguishable from legitimate advertising?

So how do you protect yourself from it? In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about malvertising and how to protect yourself from it.

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What Is Malvertising?

Malware has been changing over the years, getting more and more sophisticated, even as people find solutions to them. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for new ways to infiltrate systems and wreck havocs wherever they can. When it comes to malvertising, cybercriminals either inject malicious code into legitimate online advertisements or create fake advertisements then distribute them through ad networks.

It’s quite easy for online users to fall for these schemes because, despite being devious, these ads look just like the legitimate ones. They easily slip through security protocols during approval processes. 

Once you click on the ad, it immediately starts to download the malicious code, which affects your whole computer system. The cybercriminals could also use the drive-by download method where your computer could be infected by malware as soon as the ads load, even without downloading anything.

The Impact Malvertising Can Have on Your Business

Malvertising can have a grave impact on your business. If you or your employees were to download malware, the cybercriminals would have access to sensitive customer data and personal information. 

Even worse, if customers were to click on malicious adverts from your website, your reputation could take a hit. So would customer trust, which could limit any future revenues.

How Do You Protect Yourself From Malvertising?

The worst thing about malvertising is now how widespread it is, but how skillful cybercriminals are at evading detection. This means that you need to take extra precautions to evade the malware as well and protect yourself from potentially substantial damage. Here are several ways you can do that.

1. Install an Ad Blocker

One of the best things you can do to prevent malvertising from your computer is by installing an adblocker such as Adguard. With an ad blocker, you have no chance to accidentally click on malicious ads, because no ads will show up on your screen, to begin with. The trick here is to find the best ad blocker in the market.

There are so many types, some of which are free while others are paid for, and when you install one, all your web pages will be free of ads. Certain websites may nor run if they detect ad blockers, though. However, the good news is, as long as you know a website is legitimate, you can switch off the adblocker and allow ads from those websites.

2. Turn on the Click-to-Play Feature

The click-to-play feature is available on your browser. Once you allow it, any content that requires a plugin, such as Adobe Reader, Java, or Flash is disabled. You need to manually allow content to -lay by pressing okay. The most significant reason you need to do this is that it will protect you from drive-by malware.

3. Install an Antivirus System

Installing an antivirus is also a great way to protect yourself from malvertising. Install and run a reputable and trustworthy antivirus in all your systems and mobile devices and always ensure you approve all the latest updates. 

Updates are usually designed to protect software programs and applications from various forms of malware and viruses because cybercriminals always find loopholes. If you fail to download the updates, you may leave your system vulnerable, even if you still have the program on your computer.

4. Implement a Content Security Policy

A content security policy, better known as CSP, is used to control the kind of domains that host content on your websites. One of the best things about the policy is that it prevents any unauthorized scripts, meaning customers can’t download malware from your website.

5. Use Safe Browsers

More and more developers are beginning to understand the massive damages malvertising can cause and the impact it has. For these reasons, several browsers have been updated to counter these malicious codes.

You’ll find that the latest browser versions of Google Chrome, Firefox, and few others come with safety features that protect users. For instance, Google’s Safe Browsing is a powerful feature that maintains a blacklist of all the dangerous websites you may encounter. Even better, it’ll warn you of potential or possible attacks.

6. Beware of Plugins

Insecure plugins have become a popular attack vector, so you need to be wary of the plugins you install. Try to install just what y ou need and make sure even those are from well-guarded providers.

Fewer plugins always mean a lesser chance of experiencing an attack. Attackers will not have the opportunity to exploit any vulnerabilities.

7. Always Make Sure Your Firewall Is on

We cannot stress enough how important firewalls are and how essential they are to your security. Whether it’s for personal use or for your business, you could use one. You can use your firewall to monitor and detect redirects, iFrames, and other elements that cybercriminals use when attacking.

8. Avoid Seemingly Dangerous Websites

It’s true that malicious ads do appear on legitimate websites, you’ll find that they are most common in smaller and seemingly suspicious websites. Most small websites have no idea how to navigate the world of cybersecurity and hence are less safe than larger websites. Beyond that, most gambling and file sharing websites are usually a haven for malware. And hence you should be wary of them.

How to Protect Yourself From Malvertising

There you have it! These are some of the best steps you can take to protect yourself and your business from malvertising. 

Cybersecurity has become one of the major reasons businesses are closing down and why fraud and identity theft are becoming prevalent. Get yourself the best ad blocker in the market, like Adguard, and always be on your guard.

For more information about running your business and the latest news, please check out our blog section today!

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