The Surprising Power of Adblocking for Information Security

June 3, 2018

When it comes to protecting your enterprise’s data, there’s no such thing as overpreparing.

Safeguarding information and intellectual property across your network is imperative, no matter how wide that net spreads. Ad blocking software is most commonly used to enhance the user experience while browsing the web, but it can also be an added layer of security.

There are unexpected risks in leaving your enterprise vulnerable to advertising. Besides preventing advertisements from appearing on a webpage, adblocking also prevents the advertisers from seeing your activity or accessing your data. Malicious ads can access your data via small chunks of code hidden within the ad, which connect to your server and find gaps in your security using exploit kits. All of this happens without any required action from the user and is most often undetected.

Even if no intellectual property is stolen, adware that tracks user activity can have powerful negative implications for businesses if it is not blocked. Think of an organization whose employees are researching fines for a particular GDPR violation. It would not be too much of a stretch to think that enterprise is potentially in violation of GDPR. The dodgy advertisers might then demand a hefty sum to refrain from reporting the business to regulatory bodies.

There have also been recent cases of malware posing as advertising: ads impersonating legitimate companies have successfully hoodwinked users and gained access to sensitive data. Large companies including Comcast, Google, and Yahoo have all fallen victim to malvertising schemes, and the trend is growing. In 2017, Symantec recorded a 36% increase in infections.

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So how can you protect your data and network against malvertising and harmful invasions of privacy?

There are dozens of options for effective ad blockers, meaning you can choose the one best tailored to your enterprise. Keep your network security uniform by engaging a mobile device management (MDM) solution and ensuring all employees and devices in your network are using an up-to-date version of the adblocking software you’ve chosen. An MDM solution also keeps your security automatic, meaning your employees can keep their focus on the business while your enterprise remains safe and sound without excessive engagement.

If you’re seeking a more complex security solution to shield your data, VPNs and mobile security products are good additions. The best practice is relying on a single comprehensive security solution rather than a fractured approach—make sure your security software works harmoniously to keep your data safe.

Your enterprise shouldn’t be restricted by the threat of security attacks, nor should your employees be hindered by excessive training and bureaucratic policies. They should feel confident using the web within your business network, and you should be comfortable with their use of personal devices. Keep the flow of your business safe and steady by being proactive and giving your enterprise several layers of security. Just don’t overlook those ads!

This blog post was originally published by Infosecurity Europe on June 1st, 2018 in preparation of KITEWIRE’s participation in the show.

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