Sunday, November 22, 2009

Could That Web Ad Contain a Virus?

Hackers can be smart people and they have started to strategize to expand their reach and attract new victims.

Online advertising is specifically designed to target a large number of people, often in a specific demographic, and hackers are piggybacking on those marketing efforts to land some serious viruses right where they’ll do the most damage.

The strategies of these hackers usually involve taking over a currently existing ad and infecting it with malware. When interested customers click on the perfectly legitimate company ad, they’re also downloading a vicious virus into their company – unbeknownst to either them or the advertising company.

Companies are responding to the virus problem with serious investments in Internet security in an attempt to protect their customers. Obviously the malware-ridden ads can seriously damage a company’s reputation, as consumers get the impression that doing business with them only leads to potential damage to their computers and personal information.

To keep their names out of the mire, companies have worked hard to remedy the problems as soon as they occur and get the ads taken down within a few hours. Unfortunately, a few hours is all it takes for a well-positioned ad to reach thousands of customers, many of whom will be infected with the malware.

Online security may become one of the few places companies are willing to invest more money, even in a rough economy. With web advertising one of the few marketing strategies that is showing growth, companies can’t afford to have those dollars get killed by a virus.