A recent research has revealed that USA is the No. 1 global victim of deceptive advertising-based cyber-attacks.
According to the latest report from the Cheetah Mobile Security Research Lab, the deceptive adverts reached 21% of the global alliance traffic last month, with Vietnam and Brazil following the US as top victims.
The deceptive ads show up while users are browsing certain websites. Usually, they work by showing a user fake alerts, notifications or warnings in order to trick the user into downloading unnecessary or malicious applications.
For instance, a pop-up or message may display something like, “Your Android device has been infected,” or, “Please, upgrade your phone to the latest version.”
Once the users catch on, the adverts can cause irreparable damage to companies/brands, sometimes costing them up to millions of dollars to restore their reputation.
“Companies can waste millions of dollars and damage their reputations by being victims of deceptive advertising,” Cheetah Mobile said. “Even Facebook recently pulled a big ad-tech project because of the increasing amount of bots and bad-quality ads.”
According to Cheetah, 45% of the deceptive advertising comes in the form of a fake virus-infected alert; 40% from a fake system upgrade alert; and 15% from fake critical vulnerabilities. The top applications associated with deceptive advertising are UC Browser, 360 Security and SuperB Cleaner.
Among the above-mentioned categories, fake alerts for virus infections are the most common, occurring almost half the number of times. There are only a few deceptive ads which display fake critical vulnerabilities.
Regarding the app categories, tools and utilities, like security and power-saving apps, they are the main victims, due to the fact that the most deceptive ads falsely warn users about a malware/virus infection or a dying mobile battery.
Cheetah Mobile Security Research Lab reported that porn websites are the main source of deceptive advertising. However, deceptive ads can also be found on game portals, file hosting services, and news websites.