Recent Fireball Adware Attack Highlights Importance of Adware Awareness

Recent Fireball Adware Attack Highlights Importance of Adware Awareness

Adware is a form of malware that delivers malicious advertisements to your computer or device. Typically what happens is that after it has infected your computer, it will display popups, banner ads or other advertisements designed to trick you into clicking on them to generate money for the creator of the adware.

While this sounds like little more than a nuisance, it can also cause some significant harm to your computer. It could deploy tracking software to learn about your online habits. It could use data mining technologies to access your personal information and steal it from you. There are even some forms of adware that will automatically turn off your antivirus software, leaving you as a sitting duck for future adware infections.

It’s important for all businesses to have anti-malware policies in place that include adware protection, and especially so in the wake of the most recent largescale adware attack, which has been dubbed Fireball.

About the Fireball adware

In early February, network security specialists discovered that a malicious piece of adware had infected about 250 million PCs. The security team from Check Point named it Fireball—a piece of adware that was specifically designed to hijack users’ web browsers to change the default search engine and then track web traffic for a marketing company based in Beijing called Rafotech.

Perhaps more disturbing—the adware had the ability to remotely run any type of code on the machine and download new malicious files. So while it initially comes off as a mere nuisance and invasion of privacy, it is actually something far more sinister.

Rafotech can monetize the traffic coming from infected computers by skimming a fee every time one of these virus-ridden computers visits a client website.

Check Point determined 250 million computers were infected after analyzing Alexa traffic statistics, but says this number could actually underrepresent exactly how many computers were affected by the adware.

Businesses should have network security plans in place

The proliferation of the Fireball adware is yet another reason for businesses to prioritize network security. A single breach could jeopardize massive amounts of personal client information, trade secrets or any other private data that could seriously damage a company if it gets out.

For more information about what you should include in your digital security strategy, contact us today at IDMI.Net and we will be happy to provide you with further information and recommendations.