How Is Malware Spread Through Flash Based Advertising?

how is malware spread through Flash based advertising?

For the past ten years that it has been around, computer users have had a love/hate relationship with Flash and it’s counterpart Shockwave.

Shockwave isn’t around as much anymore but Flash is more popular than ever.

The arguments against Flash are bound in reason but there are some good points to the format as well.

With Flash you are able to create animated images easily and it has turned out to be the web standard for viewing video files, thanks to the popularity of youtube and other similar video services.

how is malware spread through Flash based advertising?

how is malware spread through Flash based advertising?

Other features that Flash offers developers is that it allows you to have file access to the users local computer.

It is done in a sandbox type setting to make sure that this feature is as secured as possible.

While this is a nice feature to have, it has also recently been a problem.

Flash Based Advertising

There are many sites that allow Flash based advertising on their networks.

Flash based advertising has proved to be very effective and so it has become popular.

Developers are able to create mini games and movies that are really just advertising underneath.

When showing these Flash based advertisements, most webmasters use a third party service to deliver the advertising to their web site.

So they have little to no control over what shows up.

This is where hackers have taken advantage of the system.

Spyware And Viruses

There have been security alerts of flash based advertisements loading spyware and viruses on a users system without their knowledge.

Since javascript does not have the ability to access a person’s local files, hackers have used Flash’s ability to do this against people.

When the infected Flash file pops up in the advertising , the file is automatically executed and right away, your system starts to see degradation.

It is hard to avoid this type of exploit because Flash is in mostly all of the major web sites that you visit.

It is up to the third party networks that serve up the advertising, to run the files that they accept, through rigorous testing.

There should be no way that an infected file is allowed to leave their labs.

So far this attack has been seen mainly on adult web sites that use Flash to view movies.

It has been spotted on other mainstream web sites but the majority of incidences has been on adult sites.

Most likely the reason that the attack has been found on these type of sites is because the networks that offer advertising on them are for the most part not very big in size.

It is easy to sneak a corrupted file past an ad network that does not have that many resources available to it.

You have to be careful when you are surfing the web.

Flash based attacks are becoming more and more of a problem everyday.

It is not going to stay in the adult world for that long.

This will soon become a mainstream threat.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. I solved the problem by installing software on my PC that blocks Flash ads, but does not block other kinds of ads. Using an ad blocker is the only way to solve this problem.


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  3. […] Another way is through the use of Flash as an advertising model. […]

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by UK Extension IT NEWS, F-Secure UK and F-Secure Online Team, Lee. Lee said: How Is Malware Spread Through Flash Based Advertising? […]