The threat is real: what do Forbes, Huffington Post and the Daily Mail have in common?

Simply put, all of these publications’ websites use ad networks that have recently been targeted by malvertising, according to a new article by CSO Online.

Ad networks have been hit by a string of compromises in recent months, leading to numerous malicious attacks.

If you have any sort of vulnerability, malvertisements are designed to exploit security flaws and systematically insert malware into your device.

The problem with malvertisements is that you don’t even know they’re there – you can be getting your daily dose of celebrity news while, totally unknown to you, a malicious ad is exploiting a vulnerability on your computer.

These types of ads exploit security flaws in anything from browsers and PDF viewers to Flash players.

The days of an ad being an image or link are over

“One reason malware is spiking now is because the complexity of online ads allows it. The days of an ad being an image and a link are over. All that code that allows ads to move and dance and sing also presents more opportunities for bad code to slip from the ad onto your computer,” says John Wilson, field CTO at Agari.

To keep safe, web users are often advised to keep their devices up to date with every security patch and fix available.

Patch management is one of the key controls recommended by Cyber Essentials, the new cyber security framework supported by the UK Government. A Cyber Essentials certification can help protect businesses from up to 80% of Internet-based attacks.

IT Governance has helped over eighty companies to successfully achieve certification to the Cyber Essentials scheme.

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To find out more about how Cyber Essentials can help your business, download the free Cyber Essentials guide now.