A word made from combining Malicious and Advertising, it basically means using online ads to spread malicious programs (malware) that can infect your computer.
You’ve probably seen the little ads on the sides of many websites you visit, be it Yahoo, Msn, youtube, facebook, and so forth. Those ads are the ones that potentially can be compromised, and made to deliver malware to your computer, even if you don’t click on the ads themselves. It is enough that they are part of the website page you are visiting and that the computer is vulnerable to the particular exploit being used to infect your computer. More about that below.
As a user, what you should know is that ultimately what malvertising like many other type of malware activity uses as the means to infect your computer is normally vulnerabilities in your programs, whether your web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Edge, etc) or one of its plug-ins, such as Flash, and so forth.
Malvertising has been in existence for a while, but the interesting aspect of it is that it has been in the rise as a method of delivering malware through websites and the internet.
What To Do
Because of the above you should:
- Make sure your software is kept up to date (since updates exist partially to patch earlier vulnerability holes that have been found in the specific program),
- Make sure you uninstall software you don’t use, and of course
- Have a well rounded security model in place, such as the one I’ve outlined in the past, which you can find here.
If you need help accomplishing the above, feel free to ask questions.