Anyone who’s run a Web site is probably familiar with the term “malvertising,” which occurs when crooks hide exploits and malware inside of legitimate-looking ads that are submitted to major online advertising networks. But there’s a relatively new form of malware-based advertising that’s gaining ground — I’m calling it “crimevertising” for lack of a better term — that involves running otherwise harmless ads for illicit services inside of commercial crimeware kits.
At its most basic, crimevertising has been around for many years, in the form of banner ads on underground forums that hawk everything from hacking services to banking Trojans and crooked cashout services. More recently, malware authors have started offering the ability to place paid ads in the administrative panesl that customers use to control their botnets. Such placements allow miscreants an unprecedented opportunity to keep their brand name in front of the eyeballs of their target audience, and for hours on end.