• Office of the Comptroller

Watch out for flashy ads and pop-ups for lurking malware!

Since web ads generate income through “clicks”, cybercriminals are actively trolling the web. “Malvertising” is fake advertising purchased by cybercriminals to spread malware and to hack and infect legitimate pop-ups, ads, and links. Mouse malware tracks your mouse cursor as you attempt to click on the “X” to close the ad, and instead opens up a malicious page when you click. Flashy ads and news articles are designed to entice users to click, so remember:

  • Keep your browsers and virus protection software up-to-date.

  • Hover or preview over all links and linked images to check if they are to a legitimate “https” site with a padlock icon, and that the name matches the link.

  • Instead of clicking on a link, ad, or image, type the name or subject in a browser window and locate the content without clicking.

  • Pause before hitting the “X” to close a pop-up window to ensure that you are not inadvertently opening the ad.

In addition to your normal incident response protocols, please contact CTREmergencyNotification@mass.gov with any incidents or suspected incidents of fraud or cyber attacks or if you need assistance with internal controls.


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