Mac users had a rude awakening this week when it was understood that an info-stealer known as Poseidon was able to create a fully verified and trusted ad by Google to send malware to unsuspecting victims browsing the web.

This comes after another inf-stealer was similarly published as a verified ad by Google targeting Windows based computers earlier this month.

How It happened

Google at it’s heart is an advertising company, pushing various ad’s out to users in various forms such as pop-up’s, or side-bar promotion spots that you may see on almost any website you visit these days.  Users who shows an interest in the Arc browser, an internet browser similar to Firefox, or Chrome, were delivered ad’s in their web browser to download the Arc browser.

Those who clicked the ad were taken to a website to supposedly download the Arc browser, only the page they were taken to was indeed fake.  The website looked identical to the real one, only the domain was slightly different than Arc’s official page, and instead of downloading a legit web browser, users instead unsuspectingly downloaded malware to their computers.

The malware was classified as an info-stealer, which essentially gathers any and all important data such as passwords, email addresses, IP addresses, and any other valuable data, and automatically posts it to a site which sells this data to other criminal organizations called Poseidon.

Understanding how to Protect Yourself From This Attack

Although Google quickly removed the verified ad’s serving malicious software 24 hours after it was reported, it’s not the first time this has happened.  Hacks and other online criminals use any possible legit surfaces to try to push out malware to unsuspecting users.  However with the right tools, and resources you can avoid such threats.

Keeping an active and up to date Anti-Virus software running on your computer can help to detect when malicious files have been downloaded and can immediately and automatically quarantine the threats.

It’s also a good idea to use a good Ad-Blocker such as AdBlock Pro, or Ublock Origin to prevent sidebar ad’s from loading and cluttering your web browser.  Unfortunately though, companies and advertisers continue to trend in the direction of stopping Ad Blockers, or forcing users to turn them off upon visiting their site.

Keeping Secure Online

Threats like those discussed above can be exceedingly difficult to spot.  Especially in cases such as these where a reputable company such as Google has verified that the ad you are seeing is legit, even in cases where it absolutely is not.

Working with a Managed Services Provider like Natural Networks can help to ensure that online threats such as these can be mitigated as quickly as possible.  Natural Networks offers multiple layers of security, from Firewalls, to Anti-Malware, to email spam filtering, Natural Networks offers many solutions to these forms of malicious software.

If your interested in learning more about how partnering with Natural Networks can bring your IT security to the next level, give us a call today!