The false advertisement has been left up for days, flying under the radar by managing to adhere to Google Ads' policies.

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

September 14, 2023

1 Min Read
Cisco logo on a sign outside
Source: Brian Raisbeck via iStock

Threat actors are targeting corporate users who are interested in downloading Webex — by buying ad space from Google and impersonating Cisco.

Webex, the digital communications giant's Web conference software, has not itself been compromised, to be clear. The effort is a fairly straightforward malvertising campaign: When a user completes a Google search for the software, they are met with a seemingly real advertisement that is being used to distribute malware, specifically the BatLoader first-stage malware threat.

BatLoader, which as its name suggests downloads additional payloads on a compromised computer, is skilled in evading detection and "is part of the infection chain where it is used to perform the initial compromise."

The malicious, false advertisement adheres to Google Ads' policy for display URLs, exploiting a loophole known as a tracking template that is being abused as a filtering and redirection mechanism. The threat actors appear to be interested in corporate users, using malware that may not be detected by an organization's traditional antivirus measures.

"A more complete solution such as endpoint detection and response (EDR), coupled with an MDR service where human analysts review suspicious activities performed by the malware is a necessity," stated researchers at Malwarebytes Labs, who uncovered the campaign.

Google has been alerted regarding the false advertising incident.

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Dark Reading Staff

Dark Reading

Dark Reading is a leading cybersecurity media site.

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