Cyber Security is in the news this week again with popular sites like BBC & MSN inadvertently hosting Malvertising.

Malvertising is where the adverts, that regularly appear on websites that we visit, when clicked on try to install some form of malware. An increasingly common form of malware is ransomware but others such as Trojans have also been found within these adverts.  The advertising companies that supply these sites with adverts have been tricked into believing that they were genuine. This means that the sites themselves have not been compromised, just the adverts they are loading onto the page.

Once one of the adverts on the site has been clicked on, the user would be directed to a website where the Malware would be downloaded to the user’s computer. In the case of Ransomware, it would then encrypt the user’s data. Once the data has been encrypted, hackers would then issue a ransom to the user requesting that they pay a fixed amount, usually in Bitcoins which are untraceable.

We would advise users to make sure their web browsers and browser plugins, such as Adobe Flash and Java, are always up to date with the latest patch and bug fixes available. Another layer of protection is to install plugins such as an Ad Blocker, there are a variety available, and NoScript.  These plugins will prevent certain aspects of a site loading adverts with potentially malicious scripts. If you would like to support the site’s income via adverts you can choose to disable the plugins for specific sites.