What is malvertising?
Malvertising is malicious online advertising. To be specific, malvertising refers to online ads that can spread malware, without the user being aware of it. That can seriously harm a user`s computer in many ways including modifying or erasing data, hugely reducing a computer`s performance and enabling hackers to collect your data.
Sometimes, malicious ads can be easy to identify as they look suspicious and unsafe. But, also, there are malicious ads that start producing malicious code the instant the page opens, without the user clicking on anything. Some of the largest world companies had malvertisement accidents such as YouTube and Yahoo. (Chirgwin, 2014)
Who can be a victim of a mavertising attack?
Malware attacks represent one of the biggest security issues nowadays. It can lead to financial losses, reputation losses, theft of important and sensitive data, etc. Everyone can be its victim.
Namely, trustworthy companies are often victims of malvertising. Hackers can first place uninfected advertisements on reliable sites, and when everyone thinks that ads are clean and secure, they will insert a virus behind it. Risking, not only to contract the computer of the company but also the computer of managers, other staff, clients, shortly every person that used the site. Victims of malvertising could be companies, schools, healthcare institutions, transport, factories, etc.
Consequences of malvertising in healthcare
Furthermore, if malvertising victims are hospitals and medical clinics that can lead to devastating consequences. If a computer is infected with malware, a patient can lose reliable access to the PCS, the right to make medical decisions or the patient wouldn`t even be able to get treatment. This would lead to risking patients` health and security.
Inter alia, malware can lead to changing or deleting medical records or even theft of those. Medical records include documentation such as test results of a patient, information about the patient`s preoperative and postoperative care, detailed operation information as well as cyclic notes of a patient’s progress and medicines. (Urol, 2009) Loss of medical records can seriously harm the patient considering it contains a detailed patient`s history. Sensitive data can be compromised, privacy violated and health and safety of the patient put at risk.
This invisible attacker poses a huge threat to health facilities, as one of the most important facilities for the nation`s well-being.
People need to educate on the problems and consequences caused by malicious ads, so they can understand the importance of cybersecurity awareness. Beware of malvertising and other cybersecurity threats, update your software regularly, block pop-up ads and don`t open suspicious ads even on the most reliable sites. (Benton, 2014) It`s important to protect your business, maintain a good reputation and also, protect your staff and clients.
Benton, B. (2014, April 24). 10 Tips on How to Prevent Malware From Infecting Your Computer—and Your Livelihood. Retrieved from Redshift: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/10-tips-on-how-to-prevent-malware-from-infecting-your-computer/
Chirgwin, R. (2014, September 10). YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess. Retrieved from The Register : https://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/09/10/big_names_caught_in_kyle_and_stan_malicious_ad_attack/
Urol, I. J. (2009, September 25). Medical records and issues in negligence. Retrieved from US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2779965/