Malvertising: The problem, and the very obvious solution
You’re a smart cookie. You have a neat little virus checker, you avoid the most disreputable websites (especially on your work PC) and you’re pretty clued up when it comes to downloading software.
All is good, life is great. Until one day, you notice something wrong. Something… virusy… on your PC. How could this happen? You did everything right!
Well, this time, maybe it’s not your fault. Maybe it’s MALVERTISING (thunder crashes, lightning flashes, wolf howls, etc.)
What the F is malvertising?
MAL*icious ad*VERTISING. Snappy!
Malvertising is what happens when ads mutate. No longer merely irritating, annoying and user-experience destroying, they can now become dangerous…
The unscrupulous folks who design viruses and malware know that most of you know the common ways of getting a computer virus (except Steve in accounts, that guy is always downloading dodgy stuff). So, they need a way to get past your anti-virus, malware checker and propensity to visit only the most trustworthy websites.
A fun way of doing this is buying real, actual ad space on real, actual websites. This ad space is then used to fire all kinds of horrible crap into your PC. The worst part? The websites themselves don’t even know they are carrying this horror, and even the ad providers are unaware. This means that by the time anyone realises… IT’S TOO LATE.
Your defenses aren’t good enough
Yeah yeah, we know. You’re the type of person who would never, ever, click on an ad, right? We know that because you’re reading an article from Adblock Plus, purveyors of high-quality ad-blocking software.
Malvertising is designed to get around your defenses. Even if you don’t click on an ad, malvertising can still get you. Just opening a page is sufficient in some cases.
Throw your laptop into the sea
Ha, just kidding. Before you get all “woe is me” and “will this nightmare never end?” remember – YOU CAN’T HAVE MALICIOUS ADS IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY ADS.
That’s right. Adblock Plus destroys not only the irritating ads, but also the infectious ones. It’s like antiseptic cream! Rub Adblock Plus all over your web browser and you’ll reduce the risk of malvertising.*
For all other infections, please see a real doctor.