What Is a Drive-by Download?

What Is a Drive-by Download?

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Advocate
 Last update: November 25, 2023

A drive-by download is a type of malicious software (malware) that is downloaded and installed on a computer without the user’s knowledge or permission. Drive-by downloads can occur simply by visiting an infected website, viewing a malicious email attachment, or clicking on a pop-up ad. Once installed, the malware can perform any number of malicious actions, including stealing personal information, installing additional malware, or hijacking the victim’s computer.

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Key Points

  • A drive-by download is a type of malware that is downloaded and installed on a victim’s computer without their knowledge or consent.
  • Drive-by downloads can occur when a user visits an infected website or clicks on a malicious advertisement.
  • Drive-by download attacks can be used to install other types of malware, such as viruses, Trojans, and spyware.
  • Drive-by downloads can be prevented by using security software and keeping it up-to-date, as well as avoiding websites that are known to be infected.

5 Reasons Why Hackers Use Drive-by Downloads

  1. To distribute malware or viruses
  2. To hijack a user’s computer
  3. To steal personal information
  4. To conduct click fraud
  5. To display unwanted advertising
"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional