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Potentially Unwanted Software and Malvertising

Date: Jul 30, 2014

Category: Uncategorized

Guest post: Chris Larsen, Blue Coat.

One of the major trends in the malware space over the last year or so has been a big increase in the area we call “P.U.S.”, or Potentially Unwanted Software. (Other companies substitute “Application”, “Program”, or “File” for “Software”, to get a more polite acronym, but we like to call it like it is…)

These programs live in a gray area between legitimate applications and truly malicious software.

Generally, they fall into categories described as “spyware” or “adware”. They often hide behind a EULA that mentions, deep down in the small print, that they will gather information about your web surfing, in order to “improve your browsing experience”, such as serving you more relevant advertisements. (I don’t know about other people, but I don’t think “more relevant ads” improve my browsing experience, whether I consent to them or not…)

Step 1) An innocent-looking ad shows up on a page somewhere…

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