Part of the Application security glossary:

What is a malvertizement?

A malvertizement is malicious coding served through an ad on a Web site or in an email message.

Although you can protect yourself to some extent by staying away from questionable Web sites and not clicking questionable links in emails, sometimes malicious code comes from apparently legitimate sources. 

According to Websense, an online security company, in the first six months of 2008, three-quarters of the sites serving malicious ads were legitimate sites that had been hacked. Websense also found that in that same time period, 60 percent of the most popular 100 sites on the Web had either served malicious coding or forwarded users to sites that did.

In August 2008, ads on sites including Digg, MSNBC and Newsweek were found to target users through clipboard hijack attacks. Google's AdSense program has also served malvertizements to users. AdSense ads have included one for MediaMan and one for XP Antivirus 2008, both of which are sites selling fraudulent security software.

Learn More About IT:
> Brian Krebs reports that 'Three-Quarters of Malicious Web Sites are Hacked.'
> Mike On Ads reported on the AdSense malvertizement for MediaMan.
> Dan Kaplan reports on malicious ads on legitimate websites.

This was last updated in September 2008
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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