Malware Trends: August

Malware Trends: August
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It’s official—the malware trend in the digital ecosystem is at unprecedented levels. The Media Trust is actively managing 2,984 distinct incidents, on average, every day.

In our 15+ year history, the malware detection rate has historically been ~1,000 incidents/day, gradually growing over the years. Malware detection skyrocketed in early 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and has continued at an elevated rate.

Key malware behaviors driving malicious activity throughout 2021 remain unchanged with redirects, scams, and parked domains leading the pack.[Figure 1]

Malware by Type

Figure 1: 2021 Malware incidents by key threat types

Month-over-month, the August malware trend demonstrated a 16% increase in suspicious activity, primarily attributed to native advertising campaigns. These native campaigns click through to inactive landing pages, i.e., a parked domain. While parked domains aren’t overtly malicious, they are a direct conduit to malware and should be treated as viable threats.

Not only do threat actors search for and purchase parked domains, they also focus on those with viable traffic history and/or association with reputable brands. In addition, revenue-generating campaigns with a critical missing element are likely to have other vulnerabilities, e.g., redirect code, unvetted vendors, spoofed domains, etc. The Media Trust continues to work closely with affected media publishers and their AdTech partners to identify and terminate these campaigns before they propagate across the digital ecosystem.

Learn how you can safeguard your websites/mobile apps. Access:

  • Malware Prevention, our real-time, client-side analysis of executing code associated with the user experience
  • Media Filter, real-time creative blocker to stop the serving of offending ad-related content and ads to users
  • Ad Categorization, AI-powered solution for identifying and isolating video, native, and programmatic ads with sensitive or objectionable content.