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What is a Drive-by?


A drive-by happens when you use your web browser or an email link to visit a website and it unexpectedly infects you with Malware.


Recently this has been occurring from trusted sources including Unicef, Whitepages, Yellowpages, Whereis (And other Sensis Websites). These companies used an external source for adverts on their various pages. The advertisements them selves, contained the Malware. Drive-by's could herald the death of 'trusted' Web sites and this is a great cause for concern.


Essentially a Drive-By is any download that happens without knowledge of the user.

  1. It is the Download of Spyware, a computer virus or any kind of Malware that happens without knowledge of the user. Drive-by downloads may happen by visiting a website, viewing an e-mail message or by clicking on a deceptive popup window: the user clicks on the window in the mistaken belief that, for instance, it is an error report from his own PC or that it is an innocuous advertisement popup; in such cases, the "supplier" may claim that the user "consented" to the download though he was completely unaware of having initiated a malicious software download.
  2. Download of Malware through exploitation of a web browser, e-mail client or operating system bug, without any user intervention whatsoever.


Drive-by's are on the increase!


Did you know that the number of poisoned web sites is increasing. 1 in 1000 web pages are infected with malicious drive-by downloads

Are your sure some obfuscated piece of Malware isn't lurking on your workstation or web server? Are you sure your hosting service (Your Internet provider) hasn't been compromised?


How can we stop these things ?


Because you are deemed to have requested these files, firewalls simply let the contents through. As the majority of these things are Rootkits (Malware that are stealthy and hidden from the computer system), antivirus programs don't see them or are not designed to handle the detection of them. Traditional Antivirus tools are not stopping these nasties. Spyware and Malware removers are finding them after they have been installed but by then, often the damage is done.


Your best course of action is to seek technical advice as soon as you believe your PC is behaving weirdly. If your internet explorer crashes on one specific website, you have an increase in spam or your system simply becomes unreliable, seek advice.


There are some rating tools out there that trawl the websites available and rate the risks associated with it. The Trend micro, Symantec, McAfee and AVG products do this for home users and there are solutions available for Corporate and business users.


The best procedure to prevent these attacks is good surfing habits and stick to work related or safe websites. With the safe websites, don't trust them. They are less likely to infect you however be on your guard.



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To keep up to date you can refer to my blog


If you are viewing this page then these specific other pages in this series might be of interest to you:

  • Tools to remove Malware and Viruses
  • Tools to remove Malware etc but still under review by me
  • A page dedicated to helping you get the information needed to remove Malware
  • Spybot installation steps
  • How to perform an online Housecall Virus scan
  • What is Malware ?
  • Why are people using my email address?
  • How did someone steal my Email address?
  • Why is my email being blocked ?
  • How can I reduce spam ?
  • Why did I get infected ?
  • How to Handle Spam!
  • Why do I get all these bounce backs to my email address ?
  • What is a driveby Malware attack ?








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