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What is a ‘Drive-By-Download’ Attack? How Can We Stay Protected?


Drive-By-Download refers to the automated download of malicious and infected code to a user’s device by simply visiting a website. Its execution does not depend on clicking or opening an attachment, a simple visit can infect your device and gain unauthorized access to it. So, how can we protect ourselves against this?

It is often used by cybercriminals to compromise legitimate websites. The malicious codes include JavaScript codes like redirects, cross-site scripting, and much more. Drive-By-Download happens behind the screen without the user’s consent. 

Security Loopholes Exploited by Drive-By-Download Attacks

System vulnerabilities and security loopholes provide a ready platform for cyber attacks. Here are some of the common voids that are often exploited by hackers to by-pass the security walls of a system.

  • Out-of-date browsers and plug-ins.
  • Old Operating system including the early version of Windows.
  • Applications like Adobe Reader and Foxit Reader.
  • WinZip files.
  • At times even the security applications are also prone to vulnerabilities.

So, these are some of the areas which are capitalized by hackers to spread drive-by-download’ attack. 

How a Drive-by-Download’ Attacks a System?

Like any other malicious malware, drive-by-download also detects system vulnerabilities, by-pass the security walls, and infects the victim’s device. Here are some of the methods that are widely used by cybercriminals to execute digital attacks.

  1. Creating backdoors in victim’s devices that helps hackers to install more malware.
  2. Using keyloggers to record user’s keyboard activities.
  3. Deploying ransomware to lock data and ask for ransom payments for decrypting it.
  4. Making use of botnets to send spam emails and transmit malware to other devices and network spectrum.

Drive-by-download attacks are widely used by cybercriminals to exploit security voids and have become a serious concern for people. Thus we must take all the necessary precautions in our capacity.

Preventive Measures

Here are some preventive measures that everyone should exercise at individual levels.

  • Regular System Updates: System updates are released from time-to-time to patch past security loopholes. Doing this will keep your device guarded against all cyber attacks. 
  • Disable Javascript and Java: Put Javascript and Java on disable mode whenever possible. If any site requires it for proper operation ensure its legitimacy before accessing it.
  • Use an Ad-Blocker: Infected ads and pop-up alerts are one of the major causes of drive-by-download attacks. Experts recommend that s good ad-blocker software will block all annoying and infected ads from appearing on your device.
  • Get rid of obsolete and unnecessary applications and plug-ins: unwanted plug-in and obsolete applications are highly vulnerable to cyber attacks, thus getting rid of them is always a good idea to strengthen the security walls of your device.
  • Use a powerful Security Software: Scan, detect, block, and delete malicious malware using a powerful and efficient security tool. 


We hope that now you have a fair idea about drive-by-download attacks and their effects. Be proactive and follow the above mentioned preventive measures to shelter your computer and protect your sensitive data from cyber-attacks.

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