Malware can often be classified according to its purpose. Ransomware, for instance, is designed to hold a victim’s files for ransom, whereas trojans are designed to covertly infect a victim’s computer by being packaged with legitimate software. There’s also click fraud malware that, as the name suggests, is designed to generate fraudulent clicks. Click fraud malware has become increasingly common in recent years. For a better understanding of click fraud malware and how it works, keep reading.

What Is Click Fraud Malware?

Click fraud malware is a class of malware that’s designed to generate fraudulent ad clicks on the internet. Millions of websites make money through ads. While some websites make money simply by displaying ads, others only make money when users click their ads. In the latter scenario, click fraud malware may be used to increase a website’s earnings. The person who operates an ad-monetized website may distribute click fraud malware. Once the click fraud malware has infected other users’ computers, it will imitate ad clicks.

If your computer is infected with click fraud malware, you may notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Slow speeds
  • Random pop-ups containing ads
  • Inability to move or control your mouse cursor
  • Increased bandwidth usage
  • Web browser homepage changed automatically

How Common Is Click Fraud Malware?

Click fraud malware is very common. Research shows that roughly 20% to 40% of all ad clicks are fraudulent. They don’t consist of human users with honest intentions. Rather, up to 40% of all ad clicks come from bots, including those embedded within click fraud malware.

How to Protect Against Click Fraud Malware

There are several things you can do to protect against click fraud malware. Like other types of malware, click fraud malware must find a way onto your computer before it can generate fraudulent ad clicks from your Internet Protocol (IP) address. Therefore, you should use caution when downloading software off the internet.

You can use antivirus software to protect against click fraud malware. Most antivirus software products are designed to protect against a wide range of cyber threats, including viruses and other forms of malware like click fraud malware. It will scan your computer at specific intervals — or in real time — while looking for signs of threats. Antivirus software will also offer ways to neutralized any identified threats, such as quarantining or deleting the malicious files.

Of course, maintaining up-to-date software will lower the risk of click fraud malware making its way onto your computer. With out-of-date software, your computer may have a vulnerability that can be exploited, resulting in infection.