What’s the most persistent ad following you right now? There’s probably more than one. Thank trackers – when you browse the web, they make sure you won’t go unnoticed.
The reality of today’s internet is that websites are loaded with third-party trackers collecting data about your interactions. This data forms your digital profile, which can be pretty obscure – let’s say, limited to your obsession with white running sneakers. It can also be shockingly detailed – revealing your age, health concerns, political views, and financial situation.
Annoying ads are not the worst thing. What’s worse is that you can’t know what data is collected about you, whether it is stored securely, and with whom it’s shared.
No matter how seasoned an internet user you are, there’s always a chance of accidentally ending up in a dark alley of the web – a dangerous website made to cause damage. It may be a part of a phishing scam trying to trick you into giving away your private info, or it may host malware waiting to infect your device.
Clicking on an email attachment or downloading a file might cause security havoc if the file happens to be malicious. It can do severe damage to you and your device – from wrecking your system and data to facilitating cybercriminals in their attempts in luring out your personal info and money.
Flashy pop-ups, auto-play videos, colorful banners – ads are everywhere you turn. They distract you from the content you came for, stalk you from website to website, make websites load slower. Some ads can do more than that: malvertising can infect your device with malware or direct you to malicious websites designed to steal your data.
Clicking on a malicious ad is an obvious risk. But sometimes, it’s enough to visit a website that contains a malicious ad. Advanced malvertising can automatically initiate a malware download or redirect you to a new page where you’ll be forced to connect to the attacker’s server. And here’s a catch: attackers even manage to place malvertising on popular websites you trust.