Ad fraud isn’t the only thing that can do damage to your brand. If your website is attacked by adware, malware or ransomware you may be out of commission and unable to accommodate visitors. In some instances, you may unintentionally pass a virus onto your customers, and infected computers often become a target of ad fraudsters.
Any of the “wares” can be disruptive enough to result in costly damage and harm your brand. Knowing the difference between each of these terms can help you identify possible vulnerabilities and with proper security measurements you may address the protection of your business and your customers. In this blog series we are going to introduce the different “wares” and the actions you can take to protect yourself from them. This article is about malware, while the follow-up blog post tackles adware and ransomware as well.
What Is Malware?
Malware, or Malicious software is the general term of any type of hostile or intrusive programme. It’s often in the form of a virus. In computer terms, this can be any bad software that attaches itself to a programme (Windows based platforms are usually more vulnerable given their widespread use throughout the world) so it can duplicate itself and spread. Other forms of malicious software may include:
- Worms: Another form of self-replicated software that runs in the background of a an infected computer.
- Trojan software: Software of this nature presents itself as a different programme so it hides what it really is in order to infest a computer.
- Drive-by downloads: Infections of this type occur when a webpage is visited and malicious software looks for something vulnerable on your site in an attempt to get in.
- Scareware: Software of this nature masquerades itself as some legit programme or tool and when it’s downloaded, it displays some warning that something is wrong and claims to be able to fix it for you.
- Spyware: Your computer is monitored with this type of malicious software, and the data collected from the websites you visit and other actions you take is sold to other parties.
It’s not unusual for computers infected by malware to be used for ad fraud, which can also involve the use of software and other tricks to give the appearance that ads are generating valid clicks. Fraudsters may intentionally attempt to infect a computer so it will become easier to carry out deceptive tactics at a time when a system is more vulnerable and less protected.
In some cases, malicious software buries itself deep within your computer and related systems without doing any harm to you. The “botnets” that are embedded in your system may be used by Internet criminals to take other actions such as sending spam or attacking sites because they do not want to risk having their own computers linked to such activities. In extreme cases of an infection, bad software may be used to hijack windows functions or remotely take control of a computer.
How Can You Protect Your Business?
Taking appropriate anti-malware precautions can help protect your business from malicious software and fraudulent advertising. Implementing specific standards to detect and deal with malicious software can provide protection for you and your staff as well as any customers and vendors who may come into contact with your webpages or download anything from your website. Consider taking the following steps:
- Picking someone in your business to be in an anti-malware contact
- Documenting all points of contact with partner companies to avoid unintentionally transferring infections
- Assigning malicious software detection duties and making it clear what to look for
- Screening a certain portion of advertising inventory to identify signs of issues requiring attention
- Establishing a policy for dealing with any form of malicious software when it’s detected
- Developing a process for analyzing malicious software incidents so that vulnerabilities can be identified to prevent, or minimize the risk of, future attacks
At Enbrite.ly, we take any attempt at ad fraud or any other issues that may seriously harm your brand. Our goal is to save you time and needless hassle and frustration by identifying unsafe sources of never-converting digital traffic and to provide the assistance you need to create a good user experience. We offer a wide range of end-to-end solutions to cover brand safety, anti-fraud protection, and viewability with CPM and CPC campaigns and affiliate networks. Protect your budget and contact us today to ask for an offer and learn more about services.