Defend Yourself from Drive-by Downloads by Using AV Software

If you think that you still need to install a software update to be infected by malware, then you may be surprised that cyber-risks have become more advanced these days. By just accessing a “drive by” web page, you could freely allow a virus to penetrate your device. The malicious code may secretly install in the background of your device without any notifications.

Drive-by downloads refer to the malicious pieces of software that are downloaded to a computer, tablet, or smartphone when a compromised web page is viewed. In many cases, the malware will be installed on the system without the user’s authorization. The malware brought about by a drive-by download is a Trojan horse, which deceives the user about the nature of the website. Oftentimes, the operator of the compromised website has no idea that he is distributing malware.

Once the drive-by download gets into your system, it can do several nasty things such as logging keystrokes, scanning the system for sensitive files, grouping the system into a botnet of similarly compromised machines, hijacking online-banking sessions, or installing a "backdoor" that will grant access to even more malware.

Installing updated web browsers as well as antivirus or AV software will notify users if they are visiting dangerous websites. Here are some pieces of advice on how to stay protected from drive-by downloads:

1. Keep Your Software Updated

Security experts believe that you can be protected from drive-by downloads by keeping all of your software up to date, especially your AV software, browsers, as well as your add-ons and plug-in apps like Java, Flash, and Adobe Acrobat.

Employees in organizations should use the latest version of web browsers and extensions to avoid being exploited by known vulnerabilities which could easily attack outdated software. However, as some users find installing software updates a waste of time, this process is often ignored. IT departments need to remind their staff that it is imperative to install those updates even if it means being interrupted for a few minutes. This will dramatically reduce the chances of getting a virus through a drive-by download that could impede their productivity for a day.

2. Use Web-Filtering Software

Web-filtering software is a kind of program that allows you to control which websites a certain user can access. These filters works by looking at the URL of the desired site and scanning through the site's content for any restricted keyword. After scrutinizing the site, it will come up with a decision whether to block or allow the connection.

Web-filtering products have the ability to prevent people from going to websites compromised by drive-by downloads. Because of their built-in mechanisms, they can detect if a site is unsafe, and if so, they can prevent users from going there.

3. Install NoScript on Your Firefox browser

Another method to dodge drive-by downloads is by using NoScript. It is a free, open source add-on that proactively blocks malicious scripts and other executable content that could load from a Web site and run on your computer. It's an effective method to avert accidental infection of a Windows PC by exploit-kitted web pages.

4. Use an Ad Blocker

Online ads can sometimes be used as infection vectors of drive-by download attacks. Installing an ad blocker will help you reduce your exposure to this kind of threat. While it might not totally eliminate the risk, the good thing is that it can make your system much safer.

5. Don't Give Users Admin Access to Their Computers

For companies provisioning computers to their employees, they should only give standard user accounts instead of local administrative access. This can make things easier with respect to installing drivers and preventing any malicious software from getting into your main network. By restricting end users' administrative access to the computer, it can mitigate the damage brought about by malwares.

6. Protect All Your Devices

Lastly, think of all your devices and what you can do to keep them safe. Malware creators are always improving drive-by attacks so it’s better to have a core defender for your machine. Make sure to install the best AV software – Comodo Internet Security. It will safeguard the computer from incoming threats and will detect, remove, and notify you of possible threats to the system. It also has an auto-sandbox technology that prevents harmful programs from infecting your computer by executing files in a secure environment where they can't make permanent modifications to your device. Having Comodo Internet Security will allow you to browse safely, without worries.