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BizReport : Advertising : October 15, 2020

Malvertising: What to Watch

New data out from GeoEdge finds that malvertisers are upping their use of malicious content to target people. Their data finds that nearly half (42%) of publishers have received reader complains because of malicious content and 20% have either lost subscribers or revenue because of malvertising attacks. What's a publisher to do? Here are four things to watch for to identify and mitigate malvertising attacks.

by Kristina Knight

Beware of Malicious Cloned Sites

"Increasingly, malvertisers are turning to malicious cloned news websites, which can be created for less than $100. Malvertisers then place deceptive ads on these cloned sites which dupe consumers - who think they're on a news site - into clicking and falling victim to malware scams. Leading global news websites that have been cloned include, the Today Show website, BBC News, as well as German news site Zeit Online and Spanish news site El Mundo," says the security team from GeoEdge. "To stop this trend and keep their users and marketers safe, publishers need to install technology blocking ads which lead to cloned sites, like the recently launched solution from GeoEdge. This technology will make malicious cloned sites ineffective for malvertisers and significantly reduce their use."

Go Beyond the Ad to the Landing Page

"Many times, malicious advertisers place clean ads into programmatic exchanges, only to inject the malicious content on the ad's landing page, so users are only subject to the malicious content after they've clicked on the ad. That's why the industry needs to go beyond ads and analyze the delivery path to the ad's landing pages," says the team.

The Malicious Code Might be Hidden in an Image or Text

"In the 2020s, it's not enough to just scan an ad. Nefarious pixels and other malicious scams can be hidden in an ad's text or images. Called Steganography, there is an entire industry built around hiding malicious scams which are embedded into images found in ads. That's why publishers need to use ad scanning technology which can analyze images and texts to ensure that they're creating a safe environment for their users and marketers," say the experts.

Malicious Marketers are the new CMOs

"Today, malicious marketers are using sophisticated and highly targeted marketing tactics to deceive consumers. For example, our team at GeoEdge recently uncovered Morphixx, a global malicious scam for stealing credit card data from users where the content included the branding and colors of each user's Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the prize redemption page had a lot of comments including many with profile images. This wasn't the case a few years ago and has prompted our belief that malvertisers have hired Chief Marketing Officers to upgrade their content marketing and run more marketing-savvy attacks to dupe users into clicking on their malicious content and falling victim to their scams," says the GeoEdge team.

Tags: advertising, advertising trends, cybersecurity trends, GeoEdge, malvertising, malvertising trends, mobile marketing

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