I have been asked multiple times why I am so adamant about blocking ads at the edge due to the configuration headaches it can cause online. Besides other posts i have made here, and here, read the text below. I have been saying the biggest threat to businesses is right inside their browsers. The easiest, most prevalent threat is the ad networks themselves. Many legitimate sites use third party services to host their advertisements. Given the overall lackluster state of network security nearly everywhere it is no wonder that the third party ad networks routinely get compromised and then that is a launching point for attacks against millions of computers both private and business alike. The government doesn’t care whose fault it was that your business got hacked either a website with third party ads or a cloud provider. If you are covered by any number of regulations the government WILL make an example of you if it is discovered. Contact ETC Maryland to see how you can prevent this type of attack and many others from victimizing your networks.
Millions of people visiting weather.com, drudgereport.com, wunderground.com, and other popular websites were exposed to attacks that can surreptitiously hijack their computers, thanks to maliciously manipulated ads that exploit vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and other browsing software, researchers said.The malvertising campaign worked by inserting malicious code into ads distributed by AdSpirit.de, a network that delivers ads to Drudge, Wunderground, and other third-party websites, according to a post published Thursday by researchers from security firm Malwarebytes. The ads, in turn, exploited security vulnerabilities in widely used browsers and browser plugins that install malware on end-user computers. The criminals behind the campaign previously carried out a similar attack on Yahoo’s ad network, exposing millions more people to the same drive-by attacks.Update: A few hours after Ars published this article, Malwarebytes updated the blog post to say the campaign had moved to yet another ad network, which happens to be associated with AOL. Visitors to eBay were among those who were exposed to the malicious ads distributed through the newly discovered network.Malvertising is a particularly pernicious form of attack because it can infect people who do nothing more than browse to a mainstream site. Depending on the exploit, it can silently hijack computers even when visitors don’t click on links. Some browser makers have responded by implementing so-called click-to-play mechanisms that don’t render Flash or Java content unless the end user actively permits the plugin to run on a particular site. Some users have resorted to ad blockers, which have the unfortunate side effect of depriving publishers of much-needed advertising revenue.The campaign used against the AdSpirit and Yahoo networks connected to servers run by Microsoft’s Azure service. Ultimately, the booby-trapped ads led to attack code distributed through the Angler exploit kit, a software package sold on the black market that makes it easy for criminals to exploit vulnerabilities in Flash, Java, and other software. The AdSpirit attacks were particularly hard to trace because most of the websites involved in the attack were using the transport layer security protocol to obscure the address and encrypt the data. There’s no indication the attacks were exploiting vulnerabilities in fully patched software. That underscores the importance of installing security updates as soon as they become available.