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Safe Sites Aren’t Always So Safe | Network Security

Posted by Loraine Daly on Tue, Mar 4th, 2014

Network security is an important issue for all businessess even the industry giants. Sites you assume to be safe may infact not be. Beginning sometime around New Year’s Eve, a malware attack hit European Yahoo sites. Ads appearing on the site tried to install malicious software. The websites probed for Java vulnerabilities, then used the vulnerabilities to install malware. It’s estimated that two million users were affected. It’s being reported that the malware put the victims’ computers to work doing bitcoin calculations.

Malware in advertising is nothing new; malvertising has been around for years. It infected the New York Times website in 2009; it infected the London Stock Exchange as well as The Onion website. Sometimes malvertisers appear to be legitimate advertisers and buy advertising space. Sometimes malicious code is inserted into legitimate ads.

Even legitimate websites can contain links to highly targeted malicious advertising

It’s all just business as usual for the criminal underground. It’s surprisingly easy to become a bad guy. A commonly used vehicle for malware, the Blackhole exploit kit, enables criminals to inject the malware of their choice into vulnerable web browsers and is so established a part of criminal web activity that it’s available on a rental basis. Entrepreneurial criminals sell tutorials to criminal wannabes about how make money with malware advertising. Beginning criminals who want to run a malware ad can hire services that place their malware ads for them.

Of course, this lively bad-guy underground economy represents a significant threat to legitimate businesses. Even if your network doesn’t have the particular vulnerabilities the malware is targeting, it’s a distraction. Employees on perfectly legitimate websites can be tempted to click on highly targeted malicious advertising.

Sometimes just viewing an ad can trigger the malware. If your network is vulnerable, malvertising becomes much more than just a distraction. Needless to say, malware in your business network is a terrifying thought.

One solution is an ad blocker. There are all kinds of ad blockers out there—AdBlock, NoScript, ScriptSafe--but most of them have inherent problems. They are only available as plug-ins, which means they are browser specific, and each browser needs its own plug-in. Using plug-in browsers in a work environment creates an administrative nightmare. Updates have to be done per machine and per browser. Probably not all employees use the same browser, and keeping track of browser/plug-in combinations is the kind of paperwork no business wants to be saddled with. Even worse, plug-ins need to be policed to ensure employees aren’t installing them to access blocked sites.

Choose a web filter you can configure precisely to meet your business needs.

Our WebTitan software is the professional solution. It’s a web filter that you can configure precisely to meet your business needs. WebTitan doesn’t just protect your business from malvertising. It includes antivirus and anti-phishing protection too. WebTitan is automatically updated; you don’t need to keep track of anything.

WebTitan is simple to set up and configure. You create your own Internet browsing policies, and you can block access to web sites for some employees while permitting other employees access to the same websites. WebTitan can also be set up to do different levels of filtering at different times of the day. WebTitan can identify sites infected with malware and block them before they have an opportunity to infiltrate your network.

We also offer WebTitan Cloud, which requires no software installation on your part. It can be set up in minutes by a simple configuration change. Call us and let us tell you what a reasonably priced solution WebTitan is. If we all had the kind of good protection WebTitan provides, the Blackhole exploit kit would become useless; what a wonderful thing that would be! 

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