Malvertising Campaign Targeting Internet Explorer Users | Avast – Security Boulevard
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to profit from the unfortunate situation. We have recently discovered cybercriminals adjusting their malvertising campaigns to adapt their malicious ads, making them relevant to the COVID-19 crisis. The bad actors purchase ad space from an ad network to display malvertising, malicious advertisements, on websites. They are now using website names appearing to host information related to the coronavirus, and therefore giving ad network operators the impression they are non-malicious. This particular malvertising campaign hosts an exploit kit called Fallout, which attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in older versions of Internet Explorer, doing so without user action or awareness that anything is happening, in order to install Kpot v2.0, an information/password stealer.
Reesha Dedhia, security evangelist at PerimeterX:
“As we have seen frequently, the digital ad and affiliate world is not always a safe world, often leading to threats from bad actors. Unfortunately, it’s not surprising that these bad actors are using the current crisis with COVID-19 to exploit users’ personal data. Ad networks, focused on monetization for their business, often don’t do their due diligence and sell ads to bad actors. Just like the ad networks, these bad actors also have monetization goals. All of this is of course – at the expense of end-users. Browsers are like the new supercookie, with users often downloading extensions and malware unknowingly, putting their privacy and data at risk. Industry statistics show that up to 20% of online users have been exposed to malware from browser extensions and ad injections.
In addition to a user’s privacy and data being at risk, we have also seen e-commerce sites becoming more at risk with the recent surge in online shopping due to COVID-19. Users, exposed to browser malware, come to an e-commerce site to shop, but are interrupted with malicious distractions in the form of ads, pop-ups and banners. These pop-ups and banners have been redirecting shoppers to competitors or malicious third-party sites and displaying malicious ads and content. This not only puts the user at risk to their privacy and customer experience, but also impacts the e-commerce site. E-commerce sites have been feeling the negative impact from this in the form of conversion loss, damaged brand reputation and loss of revenue.
With this current crisis, it’s a good idea for both users and site owners to find ways to protect themselves. While users should work to keep their browsers updated, e-commerce sites should look for solutions that can detect browser-based malware and quickly take action to block malicious distractions on their site.”