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Browser Notification Spam on the rise: What You Need to Know

Rise in Chrome Browser Notification Spam (BNS)

In an ever-evolving world of Cybersecurity, new threats and challenges are constantly emerging. One such issue that has seen an alarming increase recently is Browser Notification Spam (BNS). As a leading Managed IT Services provider specializing in cybersecurity, DCS believes it's crucial to keep our clients up to date on rising trends.

Understanding Browser Notification Spam (BNS)

Browser Notification Spam is a type of online spamming technique that exploits the browser notification feature. This feature, introduced by Chrome in 2015, allows websites to send notifications to users who have subscribed to them. However, some unscrupulous advertisers misuse this feature for click fraud. They trick users into allowing notifications from websites designed to generate clicks for ad revenue.

Once users allow these notifications, they are led to the browser notification spam sites through various doorway pages. These pages are designed to attract user visits and redirect them to the BNS sites. Spammers use fear or misleading notifications to convince users to allow notifications.

The Rising Tide of BNS

Recent reports indicate a significant increase in BNS. According to a study by Bleeping Computer, scam browser notification prompts increased by 69% in 2019. This trend is concerning as it breaches users' trust and contributes to the growing problem of click fraud.

A New Tactic: Scary Pop-ups

We've seen several instances where BNS pop-ups create very threatening or scary messages, often trying to convince users that their computers are infested with Malware. These messages may prompt users to call a legitimate source such as Microsoft or their bank. These pop-ups often include very legitimate-looking toll-free numbers. Unfortunately, when users contact these numbers, they reach internet threat actors who may convince them to allow remote access to their computers.

How to Combat Browser Notification Spam (BNS)

  • Be cautious when allowing notifications: Only allow notifications from trusted websites. If a site you don't recognize asks you to allow notifications, it's safer to decline.
  • Check your browser settings: Regularly review your browser settings to see which sites you've allowed to send notifications. If you find any unfamiliar or suspicious sites, remove them.
  • Install a reliable security solution: A comprehensive security solution can help protect you from various online threats, including BNS.

What to Do If You're a Victim of BNS

If you're receiving unwanted notifications, here's what you can do:

  1. Terminate the browser process: Press Control + Alt + Delete, go to Task Manager and terminate the browser (e.g., Chrome). This will stop the messages temporarily.
  2. Go to your browser settings: Find the list of sites you've allowed to send notifications.
  3. Remove suspicious sites: Look for any sites you don't recognize or remember allowing. Click on the 'Remove' or 'Block' option to stop receiving notifications from these sites.
  4. Contact a professional: If you're unsure how to deal with BNS or if the problem persists, contact a cybersecurity professional.

At DCS, we're committed to ensuring the security of your digital environment. If your small business is dealing with BNS or any other cyber-related concerns, don't hesitate to contact us. We're here to help.

Stay safe and informed in the digital world!