Cyber Attacks Reading Time: 2 minutes

Comodo Dragon


The first time I saw the term I thought it was a typo. In fact, it is a term that you will be seeing more because it refers to a growing problem. Criminals and other hackers are increasingly using advertisements placed on web pages by ad server companies as a vehicle to spread malware.

Such malicious advertisements are now known as Malvertising!

The scary thing is that the ad server companies seem indifferent to the problem, which has been known and discussed for some years. Neither the ad servers nor the Antivirus vendors have stepped up to address the problem and it is growing.

Web Ads have become an important part of the economy and are necessary to support web sites and products we love and need. Without them we would have to pay subscription fees to popular web sites so they can stay in business.

For the internet and web to thrive we need to be able to trust that we operate safely. That’s what makes internet security so important. If we can’t trust our connections to the public standards based internet we may be forced to retreat back into the world of closed networks and proprietary technologies

How does Malvertising work?

Very simple. The evil doers create what looks like but legitimate ad but has malicious script and/or infected code in a banner. They supply it to an ad server who is too busy making money on the deal to worry about a little thing like protecting the end users. It then gets placed on the web pages of publishers who hope to make revenue from their site users viewing and clicking the ad.

JavaScript, for example can log user input steal user cookies and exploit browser weaknesses. When a user clicks on a banner it may redirect the user to a malicious site where malware will be downloaded to the user’s computer or personal information will be stolen.

What can you do about Malvertising?

To protect against malicious advertisements and to provide other privacy protections, the Comodo Dragon browser is now distributed with the PrivDog privacy browser extension. PrivDog considers a web ad as simply another file format to be screened for malware.

You will not have to worry that a virus will be downloaded automatically or when you click on the ad. You will not be taken to another site operated by criminals with bad intentions. PrivDog reduces the number of cookies, spyware and malware from advertisements. This makes your browsing safer and protects your privacy.