By now, we all understand that cyber criminals constantly are inventing or refining ways to collect and use your personal data or information for profit. In the past, popup ads would redirect users from one website to another where the criminal could prompt the user to enter sensitive information, download a virus, or allow access to the user’s computer or network. Many online users now employ a popup blocker that will prohibit these types of unwanted ads, whether legitimate or not, from appearing. However, cyber criminals have begun to deploy an updated version of the popup ad.

At first glance, the latest version of the popup ad is similar in appearance and often includes a “close” button in the top-right corner. However, when a user attempts to close the ad, the ad will at the last second expand and move the user’s cursor so that any click actually will land on the ad or redirecting link. Once clicked, the ad will redirect users to a website performing ad fraud, prompting users to enter sensitive information, or promoting various types of support scams.

Presently, a classic ad blocker cannot stop these types of popups.  However, most will prohibit the underlying ad itself from loading inside the popup, which may negate the threat. If you have not enabled the popup ad blocker on your internet browser of choice, we encourage you to consider doing so.

As with all threats, the best defense is to remain vigilant and suspicious.

Check out our series, Privacy Perils, to learn what steps you can take to guard your personal and company data. For more information about this topic and other cyber security concerns, please contact a member of our Privacy & Data Security team.