May 17, 2021

Drive-by download: What is it, how it works and How to avoid it?

what is drive-by download
Drive-by download: what is it, how it works and how to avoid it?

One of the most common, easiest and unknown yet dangerous cyber attack is drive-by download.

Drive-by downloads are really hard to detect as they often come disguised in unsuspicious and tempting links. The worst thing about them is that we download it ourselves in our device.

Read till the end to understand how drive-by download works and how to prevent it.

What is Drive-by download?

Drive-by downloads are one of the most common methods used by cyber criminals to install malware and gain unauthorized access to your device.

These software or codes download and installed in your device automatically. The user (or the victim) is clueless about the installation of such codes. The downloads may be placed on otherwise innocent and normal-looking websites.

You might receive a link in an email, text message, or social media post that prompts you to visit the link. When you click on the link the installation starts on your computer.

Some of the reasons why hackers try to gain access to your device includes monetary gain or data theft. Read more about Motives of hackers in detail.

How does it work?

Drive-by download malware generally uses simple and small pieces of codes designed to bypass defenses to sneak into devices.

A drive-by download usually takes advantage of a browser, app, or operating system that is outdated and has a security flaw. Hackers typically use exploit kits that sniff out vulnerable websites. Once the site gets the go-ahead by an unsuspecting visitor, the malware is downloaded on the user’s device.

The initial code that is downloaded is often very small to make it go unnoticed. The job of the code is simply to contact another computer that introduces the rest of the code it needs to access a mobile device or computer.

Often, a web page will contain different types of malicious code in hopes that one of them will match a weakness on your computer. Learn how to spot weakness in your device.

How to avoid it?

How to protect your device from drive-by downloads?

The most important and crucial weapon against any cyber attack is awareness and timely response. Same goes for drive-by download attacks.

Here are some points that we believe are enough to keep you away from such attacks.

  • Keep your software and web browser up-to-date.
  • Use a secured ad-blocker app or software to keep infected ads away.
  • Remove unnecessary software or plug-ins.
  • Use a safe search tool that warns you when you visit an infected website.
  • For business: get a security assessment by best cyber security experts to ensure that your defenses are always up to date and ready to protect you against ever evolving new threats.

This must give you a brief understanding of drive-by download attacks and how to protect yourself against them.

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