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Malvertising: an increasingly popular technique now used to deploy ransomware

An ongoing malvertising campaign on the Microsoft Edge homepage is redirecting users to websites pushing tech support scams. So what should businesses be mindful of?

VMware and Microsoft have also warned of an ongoing, widespread Chromeloader malvertising campaign that has recently evolved by dropping malicious browser extensions, node-WebKit malware, and ransomware.

The News Feed is the default homepage for Microsoft Edge, making it an attractive target for threat actors. It consists of a collection of thumbnails alternating between news content and advertisements.

The current campaign is intended to trick victims with fake browser locker pages which are widely used by tech support scammers. The adware being injected into the feed redirects only potential targets to the tech support scam page, meaning it is sophisticated enough to dismiss bots, virtual private networks (VPNs), and certain geo-locations.

Chromeloader, a malware that initially infected Chrome with malicious extensions with the aim of redirecting user traffic to advertising sites, has also recently evolved into a widely prevalent and multifaceted threat to organisations across multiple industries.

Its latest variants have been observed deploying ransomware and so-called decompression (or zip) bombs to crash systems.

Both exploitation of Microsoft Edge and spread of Chromeloader demonstrate an increase presence of malvertising campaigns currently observed in the threat landscape.

Adware does not typically create notable damage to victims' systems and can often be ignored within the security field.

However, with the Edge campaign being so widespread and Chromeloader consistently updating their techniques, it is a prime example of how threat actors are further monetising advertising fraud and using it for more nefarious purposes.

Researchers have observed hundreds of attacks involving newer versions of the malware targeting enterprises in business services, government, and multiple other sectors.

It is imperative that organisations remind personnel to be vigilant and avoid interacting with content they are unsure about, especially where it concerns browser interactions and advertising.



Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).



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