Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered a new botnet called Magala Trojan Clicker, that makes up to £270 from each computer by affecting it with fake advertising.
The Magala infects computers mainly from Germany and the US, through compromised websites and secret installations that require adware before contacting remote servers and requesting a list of search queries to boost click counts.
The programme then uses the list to send search clicks and queries on each link, with an interval of 10 seconds between.
‘Victimising small enterprises’
Once generated, Magala copies a user click on a website, which boosts ad click counts, and victimises small enterprises who have already paid for the advert.
According to Kaspersky Lab, contextual online advertising is usually a ‘lifesaver’ for most small enterprises that usually can’t promote their services and products in costly ways because customers may not see the ad, and small companies will ‘flush money down the drain’.
Security Expert, Sergey Yunakovsky, concluded: “Although this type of advertising fraud has long been known, the emergence of new botnets focusing on that area indicates that there is still a demand on half-legitimate promotion.
“Trying to cut their costs, small businesses go for that option, but spoil their ad efforts as a result. The success of Magala is yet another wake-up call for users to make the most of solid security solutions and keep all their software updated, in order to not fall victim to cybercriminals.”
Written from press release by Leah Alger