Threat Actors Relish Digital Media Disarray

Threat Actors Relish Digital Media Disarray
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As layoffs and rotten revenue reports cast uncertainty over the digital media space, malware propagators plan new assaults.

In the annals of tech history, we may look back on the opening month of 2023 as “Black January.”

While layoffs have long lingered on the horizon, the sheer amount of pink slips coming from tech giants and major publisher networks in the last few weeks has been staggering. Reports of a soft fourth quarter 2022 for many premium publishers and whispers of a further slumping open programmatic market have only thickened the digital advertising world’s stew of uncertainty.

And threat actors are eating it up. The strongest sign? Extra-malevolent GhostCat-3PC, a phishing redirect that doesn’t bother trying to conceal itself as a legit advertisement with a creative and landing page URLs, is priming for a massive barrage, repeating similar probing activity witnessed before huge assaults in May 2021 and August 2022.

Stay Safe Out There

This is no time to sacrifice security and consumer safety for short-term cost savings. Now’s the time to increase, not decrease, scrutiny of ad tags, creatives, and clickthroughs. Letting guards slip will ultimately cost platforms and publishers more long-term as relationships with downstream partners sour and consumers lose trust in household media brands.

The secret to ensuring safety during a belt-tightening period is to be savvy—study how threat actors have evolved and which vulnerabilities they want to exploit. Data from the past year show us a great deal about how the bad guys are approaching their business.

First off, they’re focusing on low-hanging fruit: targeting the elderly and children online with creative that capitalizes on tech inexperience.

Second, they’re increasingly using hacked brand websites to spread malware—both backdoors and phishing—but still targeting specific devices and user profiles, only unleashing malicious payloads when the correct parameters are met. Threat actors also use these hacked websites to soak up user data for smarter—and deadlier—attacks.

Check out these 9 data points from our recent CYA 2023 report, which features 7 trends to prepare you for the malware and ad quality challenges coming your way.

You’ve Got Questions…

Still feeling a bit queasy with the digital media space in tumult and threat actors chomping at the bit? Check the The Media Trust’s free webinar for a deep dive into all this and more with Digital Security and Operations Director Pat Ciavolella and Head of Marketplace Innovation Cory Schnurr. They’ll build up your confidence: even in these uncertain times, you can keep consumers safe and happy… while hauling in serious revenue.