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Malvertising definition

Malvertising is malicious advertising that criminals use to steal data or install malware onto their victims’ devices. The attack can take different forms, but they all use online advertising as a way to snag the target.

How malvertising works

  • The attacker creates a genuine-looking, clickbaity ad and hides malicious code in it.
  • They place the ad on a popular website by hacking it or they create a spoofed version of a well-known site and place their malicious ads there.
  • A person clicks the ad themselves or is tricked into doing so.
  • The victim is redirected to another server or a website, and their device is infected with malware.

How to prevent malvertising

  • Stay vigilant. Don’t engage with online ads at all. If you see an ad you like and want to learn more about what’s in it, open a new browser window and type in the service or product name the ad was for.
  • Always update. Keep your browser, extensions, and security software up to date at all times. This will minimize the chance of hackers exploiting known vulnerabilities in your software.
  • Use an ad blocker. They are not 100% effective, and not all websites allow you to use them, but they will highly decrease the chance of you clicking on a malicious ad.
  • Use additional security software. Prevent malware from getting into your device in the first place. NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature is a perfect way to do just that. It will not only block ads and autoplay videos, but it will also stop you from landing on websites known to host malicious software. And if you do accidentally download malware, Threat Protection will delete it before it can do any damage to your device.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security