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Google Ads malware
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Security & privacy

Stop looking for free software this way – It’s a malware trap

The Google Ads network is home to many seedy individuals, and this new development sheds light on how dangerous your search results can be. What is malvertising? What can you do to protect yourself? Tap or click here for everything you need to keep your data safe.

Read on to learn more about the Formbook Google Ads scam.

What is the Formbook data stealer?

The Formbook scam is slightly different from the usual fare most consumers deal with. It has a clever way of hiding from your antivirus and firewall. One of the ads in question claims to be for a 2023 Blender download, but don’t be fooled.

This campaign uses KoiVM virtualization technology to introduce the Formbook exploit to your system. How? The difference lies in the relationship between your hardware and software.

Virtual machines virtualize the physical components of a real computer, allowing you to work within an isolated computing environment.

Essentially, these ads bypass antivirus software and other security measures by hiding the exploit’s script by translating it into malicious, virtualized code that only a virtual machine can decipher. Once it’s in your physical device, it can be translated back and executed at any time.

This extra layer of “encryption” makes detecting and analyzing the issue difficult. It’s an unusual approach to take with this type of technology — all the more reason to stay vigilant, even when you’re not doing anything hazardous.

How to keep Formbook out of your virtual machine

Google Ads has had a lot of trouble with malicious ads over the last couple of years. The only real way to stay safe is to follow these best practices when online:

  • Avoid clicking on ads that appear in Google search results.
  • Read the headlines, URLs and ad copy carefully for typos and other red flags.
  • Visit sites by URL instead of through search engines.

A great ad-blocker might go a long way in this regard. While this scheme is good at avoiding being caught by antivirus software, having something solid in place is always our recommendation.

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