Dutch News Websites Hit With Massive Malvertising Campaign

Trojan-Horse-Virus-Malware-Visual-Metaphor.jpgThe majority of large Dutch news websites were hosting malvertising yesterday, after a large-scale campaign attempted to target some of the most popular websites in the country in an effort to infect consumers computers and mobile devices.

According to Fox-IT Security Operations Center, at least 288 websites were affected, and it is believed that a compromised ad network was responsible for so many sites being affected simultaneously.

Ads on the various websites were found to contain malware from the Angler Exploit Kit, which has gained a reputation for being served up by large, popular publishers. Earlier this year, Forbes website served up Angler malware, and it has also been found on sites including DailyMotion, Yahoo, MSN.com, the Daily Mail and Readers Digest.

The malware searched for vulnerabilities in visitors computers and, if sufficient protections werent in place, installed malware that left computers at risk of future exploitation, such as ransomware or being used in a botnet, as well as further infection.

The affected ad network reportedly responded quickly to isolate and remove the malverising, but the incident is just another example of large publishers being hit by fraudsters who are repeatedly managing to exploit the tools put in place to bring in revenues.

As more and more popular websites are targeted and hit by malvertising, there are increasing calls from security experts and consumer advocates for additional protections to be put in place by ad networks to verify the source of the content they distribute.