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Malvertising over the last year jumped 132 percent over the previous year’s rate, a new report found.

This past year there were 7,623,099 malicious ads detected, a RiskIQ report reveals.

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One of the factors fueling the increase was the rise of programmatic advertising, which provides sophisticated profiling capabilities that threat actors can abuse to target precise groups of users with their malicious ads, the security firm’s 2016 Malvertising Recap report found.

The highly targeted nature of malvertising results in a big return on investment but also in a slowdown in the growth of digital advertising revenue, because more and more users try to protect themselves from malvertising by using ad blockers, the report said.

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In 2017, 86.6 million Americans will use an ad blocker, a 24 percent increase over the 69.8 million who did so last year. Last year marked a 34.4 percent increase over 2015, the report said.

The worldwide paid media market has recently hit more than half a trillion dollars, the report said. Because it is accelerating every year, the market is should to reach $674 million by 2020, the report said.

“Malvertising as a digital threat is particularly effective as it’s difficult to detect and take down malicious ads because they are delivered through ad networks such as Google and Facebook and not resident on web pages. Threat actors use malvertising to propagate malware, ransomware, and scams (disingenuous advertising), as well as redirect victims to phishing pages and pages hosting exploit kits,” RiskIQ researchers said.

RiskIQ scans over 2 billion pages and nearly 20 million mobile apps per day for malicious ads, and each of the discovered ones ends up added to a blacklist that helps the company mitigate this risk for digital advertisers and publishers. The list also allows ad ops, brand managers, and security staff vet new demand sources and prevent malware within their ad infrastructure.

Click here to register to download the report.

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