Targeted ads have become a part of life that we just seemingly have to live with. On one hand, they can actually be a good thing, providing advertisements for products that we may have some interest in. On the other hand, they can give you that eerie feeling of always being followed.
Advertisements giving you that creepy feeling isn't the worst thing they can do these days. Now, there are ads popping up that can automatically install malware onto your gadget.
That's why you need to know how malicious ads are spread and what you can do to stay protected.
How hackers spread malicious ads
Malicious ads are nothing new, but after a few years of dealing with them, most ad networks are pretty good at blocking the obvious ones. The hackers behind recent attacks came up with an interesting new twist, though.
According to security firm Trustwave, the hackers found the domains of legitimate online marketing companies that had just expired and bought them. They used those domains to appear as valid businesses and purchase ad space on a huge number of ad networks, including Google's DoubleClick, Adnxs, Rubicon, AOL, AppNexus and Taggify.
Even sneakier, the ads had code that prevented them from attacking computers that had certain security research tools and security programs installed. That kept the security community from picking up on the attack right away and alerting the ad networks.