Pop-ups are everywhere. Websites use pop-ups to either try to entice you to take action or for ad revenue. With 11% conversion rates, these intrusive adverts help boost revenue for many of the sites that you visit.
However, not all pop-ups are innocent ads – some are dangerous.
What are Pop-Ups?
As a leader in cybersecurity in Miami, we know that pop-ups take many forms:
- Click pop-ups that show when you “click” on something
- Entry pop-ups that show up on the site after you’ve been on it for a few seconds
- Exit pop-ups that pop up when you navigate away from the site
- Timed pop-ups that execute after you’ve spent a certain amount of time on a page
- Scroll pop-ups which execute when you scroll down the page
You’ll also notice pop-under ads, which seemingly pop up underneath your current browser window. Often, you can’t even notice these ads until you try and exit your browser and they’re on the screen.
These ads are executed using a script and can show anything from a simple email sign-up form or discount offer to a malicious ad.
Are Pop-Ups Dangerous?
Pop-ups can be harmless or malicious. Users can be deceived by the ad, causing them to download a file that infects an entire business’s network in the process. The main risk of pop-ups is that they can either:
- Try to download files to your system
- Encourage a user to click on an executable file
The two main risks that pop-ups pose include:
Malware has replaced “viruses” and is a catch-all term used for any malicious form of coding. The pop-up can hijack your browser and redirect you to unfamiliar websites, pages or even more ads.
If the pop-up leads to malware being installed, you can have the following installed:
- Spyware that aims to monitor all of your actions
- Trojans, which also try to steal your credentials
- Keyloggers that send everything you type to someone else in hopes of stealing your information
Malware can also include adware, computer worms, viruses, rootkits and more.
Ransomware is growing in complexity and popularity. This type of malware will hijack your computer and request that you send money to unlock the system. If you work for a business that has valuable data that it cannot access due to ransomware, there is a potential of losing millions of dollars to restore access.
Protecting Against Dangerous Pop-Ups
Simple, basic measures can protect you and your business from the threat of pop-ups. You can begin implementing these protections today. A few of the protective measures that you can take include:
- Block pop-ups in your browser. In most cases, you’ll find this option under the “Settings” tab of the browser under either “Cookies and Site permissions” or “Privacy & Security.” If you block pop-ups or have to accept them (some are good), then you’ll reduce your risk of a dangerous pop-up being shown.
- Adblockers, such as AdBlock, can stop pop-ups and other ads from overrunning your browser.
If you follow just these two recommendations, you’ll have an easier time blocking potentially dangerous pop-ups from overrunning your screen.