magic starSummarize by Aili

Government spyware is another reason to use an ad blocker | TechCrunch

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses how spyware makers are using online ads to conduct surveillance and infect targets with spyware. It highlights the capabilities of companies like Intellexa and Insanet in developing ad-based spyware infection systems. The article also emphasizes the importance of using ad blockers as a defense against such malvertising attacks.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Ad-based Spyware Infection Systems

1. What are the capabilities of the ad-based spyware infection systems developed by companies like Intellexa and Insanet?

  • Intellexa developed a proof-of-concept system called Aladdin that enabled the planting of phone spyware through online ads, such as by "seemingly targeting graphic designers and activists with job offers, through which the spyware will be introduced to their device."
  • Insanet succeeded in developing an ad-based infection system capable of locating an individual within an advertising network.

2. How do these ad-based spyware infection systems work?

  • The systems work by injecting malicious code into the ads displayed on websites, which can then infect the target's device when the user interacts with the ad (e.g., tapping a link or opening a malicious file).
  • This allows government customers to target individuals, including their critics, with stealthy spyware through the global ubiquity of online advertising.

[02] Ad Blockers as a Defense

1. How can ad blockers help defend against ad-based spyware attacks?

  • Ad blockers prevent ads from being displayed in web browsers, which also blocks the underlying website from loading the ads in the first place.
  • This prevents the malicious code from being delivered to the user's device, effectively stopping malvertising and ad-based malware attacks before they can occur.
  • Ad-blocking software is available for both computers and phones, providing a layer of protection against these types of attacks.

2. What is the expert advice on using ad blockers for online safety?

  • Security experts have long recommended using ad blockers to prevent malvertising attacks.
  • In 2022, the FBI issued a public service announcement advising people to use ad blockers as an online safety precaution.
  • As stated by a Citizen Lab senior researcher, "Everyone should block ads. It's a matter of safety."
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
ยฉ 2024 NewMotor Inc.