Have you been blocked?
All blocklists are researched and managed by The Spamhaus Project.
Simply click on the link below, which will take you to the Project’s IP and Domain Reputation Checker. From here you will be able to enter your IP or Domain and begin your request for removal.
Please note that the Project’s IP and Domain Reputation Checker is the only place where removals are handled.
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Posted by Sarah Miller on 2 Feb 2023
Threat researchers are used to seeing a moderate flow of malvertising via Google Ads. However, over the past few days, researchers have witnessed a massive spike affecting numerous famous brands, with multiple malware being utilized. This is not “the norm”. Here’s what researchers are observing and a theory (yet to be proven) on this tsunami of abuse.
Search “google ads malvertising”, and a plethora of articles published over the past few weeks will be listed. With headlines like IcedID spreads via malvertising, from CyberWire, to Hackers abuse Google Ads to spread malware in legit software, from Bleeping Computer.
Numerous malware, including AuroraStealer, IcedID, Meta Stealer, RedLine Stealer, and Vidar are being delivered to victims’ machines through bad actors impersonating brands such as Adobe Reader, Gimp, Microsoft Teams, OBS, Slack, and Thunderbird using Google Ads.
Spamhaus Technology’s partner abuse.ch and The Spamhaus Project are both observing a significant increase in this activity. On January 30th, abuse.ch reported on Twitter that victims were being lured with impersonator Thunderbird Google Ads, leading to spoofed pages, which, once clicked on, delivered an IcedID payload to the unwitting victim’s device.
One day later, Google Ads was being used to spread the MetaStealer trojan:
Over the past 24 hours, both Mozilla Thunderbird and Microsoft teams have been impersonated, with IcedID malware being delivered. It’s evident that despite usually focusing on malspam, the operators of IcedID have turned their attention(s) to malvertising.
Meanwhile, The Spamhaus Project researchers have various intelligence relating to this spate of Google Ad malvertising, including lookalike Nvidia domains such as:
Spamhaus researchers have linked fake Nvidia domains with Aurora Stealer and Vidar malware. Some of the Google Ads purposefully have typos, which we presume is to try and evade detection, for example:
The founder of abuse.ch believes, “It is likely that a threat actor has started to sell malvertising as a service on the dark web, and there is a great deal of demand.” They explained they’re observing “different infrastructure being used in these ads, spreading different malware families.” This leads to the conclusion that “ad serving” is a service that threat actors purchase.
Additionally, the research teams are simultaneously seeing two rogue ads appearing for the exact search term but spreading different malware families – this is another pointer toward the fact this is malvertising as a service.
The Spamhaus Project’s domain expert, Carel Bitter, questioned why Google Ads approved adverts linking to new domains. Throughout the security industry, the immediate use of newly registered domains is associated with high-risk activity. If you take a look at the WHOIS data for one of the Nvidia lookalike domains, it was created less than a week ago:
Carel acknowledges that he’s an expert on domains, not Google Ads security – we’d love to hear from you if you have detailed knowledge in this area and can help us understand why Google is allowing the use of recently registered domains.
In the meantime, we hope Google Ads can rapidly quash this wave of malicious behavior across their platform.
Spamhaus Intelligence API (SIA) contains context-rich metadata relating to IP and domain reputation. Integrate this data with your applications to enhance existing data feeds, or consume as an independent data source.
In this easy-to-consume format, SIA can be used for threat detection and investigation, risk scoring, customer vetting, validation and much more.
Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Firewall provides your users and network with up-to-date protection against botnets and other external attacks.
Set up takes minutes; our data is constantly updated in real time by our experienced researchers on your behalf and can be utilized in your existing firewalls or routers.
Our Passive DNS allows you to quickly and easily navigate through billions of DNS records to shine a spotlight on potentially malicious internet resources associated with your network or domain.
28 April 2023
We’re excited to announce that we have partnered with Messageware - a market leader in securing, enhancing, and customizing Microsoft Exchange Servers. Read this blog post to learn about the integration and how it's providing proactive protection for customers.
15 December 2022
Downloading a free application and installing it on an internet-connected device can lead to you not being able to send email. This is because some apps allow third parties to access your device without your knowledge. These third parties then use your network connection for malicious purposes, causing your IP address to be listed as unsafe.
6 December 2022
Malware threats such as Emotet and Qakbot are re-emerging. Here’s an effective and economical way to protect against them.