Programmatic buying has exploded over the years and as the industry grows so does cybercrime. From non-human traffic to malvertising, cybercrime is evolving. The best protection we have against cybercriminals is to be prepared.
What is Malvertising?
Malvertising, also known as malicious advertising, is the process of distributing malware through online advertising. Cybercriminals sneakily inject malware into legitimate ad networks and web pages.
How is malware distributed?
It’s best to be wary of sites on which you see layers after layers of overwhelming ads. Apart from these ads being a nuisance, they can also be very unsafe. Malvertisers uses distant servers to push these viruses with the goal of infecting users.
There are 2 ways that a user gets infected:
1) The first way is via download, a common method used by cybercriminals. Unsuspecting users click on an ad and unknowingly infect their device. Pops, like pop-ups or unders, are the most popular channel.
2) The second option does not require users to click an ad. The approach is more subtle and is called “drive-by download”. The infection starts as a webpage load and progresses as malicious in-line code fetches software in the background. So, if you’re favorite site is starting to result in redirects, it’s best to stay away from it for a while.
What can malware do?
Malware can track user’s online activities by digging into historical data of the sites we visit, the web searches we perform, and links we click. User data is then processed, collected and packaged to be sold to the highest paying advertiser by ad tech companies who developed the bug.
How can you get protected?
It pays to be aware and informed but being proactive is the best defense. Here’s are a few ways to protect yourself:
- Get trusted anti-virus software and run regular scans as often as possible.
- Scan any 3rd party creatives before setting them live for trafficking. MonetizeMore’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for our premium publishers is to ensure that tags are clean before they are deployed to sites. We have a report and a SaaS that can help you and your users report a suspected ad for proper action
- Add a layer of protection to shield your site from nonhuman traffic that may infect your site with malware. Forensiq is a recommended partner that we have worked with and has a proven track record to shield our publishers with the most serious protection against these bots.
If you think your site is infected and you are unsure of what to do, we strongly recommend going to the experts. A company called RiskIQ specializes in detecting possible infringements from the publisher’s digital assets. Use the form here so we can connect you to a representative.
Contact MonetizeMore and we can advise on the best methods you can take to ensure ad quality.