Another computer security threat is spreading and you may have already seen it in action. This threat is called malvertising and it is malicious software, or malware, hidden in online advertisements.
The malware can be embedded in animated ads, banners or pop-ups according to Brian Burch, vice president of Norton product marketing at Symantec. Computers are infected in one of two ways — by clicking on an infected ad or simply having the ad appear in the browser. Once installed, the malware grabs user information to gain access to email and bank accounts.
Understandably, this could have potential backlash for a company website that may be carrying the malware. Many smaller companies tend to outsource their websites and most internet ads are sold through ad-serving agencies that typically aggregate ads from many sources — making it more difficult for a company to fix the problem.
"If a customer realizes they were infected from your site, they may not do business with you — and they may tell others," Burch said in a USA TODAY interview.
To protect themselves, businesses should make sure all networked computers are using major browsers that are frequently updated. And while security software can't stop malware from getting into ads, it can fight against malvertising from infecting the corporate network.
Computer security expert and chief scientist with White Ops, a New York-based security firm at specializes in detecting malvertising for advertisers, Dan Kaminsky talks about what his company has observed:
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