Talos ShadowGate Take Down: Global Malvertising Campaign Thwarted
This blog authored by Nick Biasini.
Exploit kits are a class of threat that indiscriminately aims to compromise all users. Talos has continued to monitor this threat over time resulting in large scale research and even resulting in a large scale takedown. The focus of this investigation is on the tools and techniques being used to drive users to the exploit kits. This blog looks at the anatomy of a global malvertising campaign and how users interact with exploit kit gates, regardless of the sites they visit and the countries they reside.
Talos observed a large malvertising campaign affecting potentially millions of users visiting sites in North America, Europe, Asia Pac, and the Middle East. The research culminated in a joint effort with GoDaddy to mitigate the threat by taking back the registrant accounts used to host the activity, and taking down all applicable subdomains. This is yet another example of how organizations work together to stop threats affecting users around the globe. If you are a provider or online ad company that would like to work with Talos, please contact us.
Online advertising is a key component of the Internet today, especially for sites that provide content free of charge. In this blog we will be discussing a global malvertising campaign that has affected a wide array of websites. These websites don’t bear responsibility for these malicious ads; it is just the nature of online advertising. As security organizations get better at identifying and shutting down malicious content, adversaries are going to continue to move and stay agile. The advantage to malicious advertising is if you visit the same site twice you are unlikely to receive the same content from an advertising perspective. This is where protections like ad blockers, browsers with advanced sandboxing technologies, and detection/prevention technologies are paramount to ensure protection from this type of content.