Watch Where You Click: Google Ads May Spread Malware

Google Ads, Gitlab and OneDrive have been used to distribute the BATLOADER malware…

An article review.

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We’ve always believed that “watch where you click” has always been good advice when it comes to security online, however Microsoft is tracking the spread of malware that has been using legitimate websites to help facilitate its spread, counting on users that have let their guard down around trusted names.

The currently unknown authors, referred to as DEV-0569 by Microsoft, have been deploying the BATLOADER malware using Google Ads which direct users to seemingly legitimate sites at hosts including Gitlab and OneDrive.  While Microsoft and Google work to remove harmful content as quickly as they can, they have been unable to completely stop the spread of the malware, which serves as a foothold that the attackers can then use to introduce further malicious code into user systems.

While link screening tools such as Microsoft Defender’s SmartScreen can help protect against known malicious URLs, due to the evolving nature of this malware it may not be able to catch all instances of this threat.  In light of these developments it may be prudent to advise users to avoid any links provided through advertising, and to make sure they are going directly to the website of the authors of whatever software they wish to download.  As many ads masquerade as legitimate search listings, users should be especially careful when using Google or other search engines to find the software they need.

Original article by Microsoft Security Threat Intelligence.



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