With the huge volume of ads displayed on sites across the Web today, it’s no surprise that bad actors view them as a window to reach vulnerable users. A new malvertising threat has appeared for iOS users. This time, it’s not about infecting your iOS devices directly — instead, it’s designed to coerce users into installing software that monitors and tracks their online activities. It does this by masquerading as a VPN, or virtual private network. VPNs are often useful for providing yourself with greater privacy protections while browsing online by concealing your real IP address. What happens with this particular malvertising attack, and how can users avoid it?
You may find the malicious ads appearing on popular torrent websites. After a user clicks on one of these ads, it sends them to a website that creates notifications claiming a Trojan horse infection has occurred. Worse still, the site plays a continuous, high-pitched beeping tone to encourage users to act quickly. The site claims that the user’s Safari browser has suffered a severe infection and offers an app to download as a remedy. This app, called My Mobile Secure, is a VPN in name only. Users are lead to believe they must use this app to avoid further infections.