ITS

Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

Drive-by Downloads

Remember when the only way to accept a download was to click on the link? Not anymore!

Did you know that just visiting a webpage can start a download? And since it is happening in the background, you will not not even aware anything is downloading. Drive-by downloads can be hidden on otherwise valid pages that you have been directed to by email, text message or social media. Beware of those “Check it out!” links. While you are reading the article or watching the video, the malicious content is being downloaded to your computer.

Drive-by downloads can even be a small program that takes only seconds to download but its task is to contact another computer to download the entire program. It may even wait until your device is idle before the full program download begins. 

Drive-by downloads are especially dangerous because they are stealthy. They are used by cyber-criminals to install viruses, ransomware and spyware on your devices by exploiting vulnerabilities, plug-ins and other components in web browsers. Drive-bys can be on websites set up to drive users to that site or it could be housed within a legitimate site that has been compromised.

How do you prevent drive-by downloads?

Be careful of the websites you are visiting. If it seems like you are being redirected to an illegitimate site, don't click the link!

Pay attention to what is being downloaded to your computer. Don't always accept "updates" at face value. Change your browser settings so that you are always prompted before a download begins and ensure that you can choose the location of where files are being saved.

Make sure you have anti-virus software and keep it updated.