- How We’re Protecting Digital Advertising from Malware

TAG Anti Malware hero - How We’re Protecting Digital Advertising from Malware


August 7, 2017

How We’re Protecting Digital Advertising from Malware

John Murphy Headshot - How We’re Protecting Digital Advertising from Malware

John Murphy
VP of Marketplace Quality

While pop-up ads, auto-playing videos, and forced redirects are rightly regarded by users as great evils, digital ads that spread malware are by far the most pernicious. Last year, malvertising increased 132% compared to 2015, and as more ad dollars are spent digitally, the risk looms ever larger. Malicious ads that can inject viruses and ransomware into devices are becoming more sophisticated; some are activated as soon as a user visits a compromised website and the ad is served.

It’s not only end-users who should be worried about malware in ads – these disruptive ads also negatively impact publishers and brands, as well as the technology pipes through which malware enters the supply chain. With users increasingly installing ad blockers to protect themselves, the advertising industry must work together to eradicate malware or face a massive loss of opportunity. Malware is an existential threat to digital advertising.

Players from each segment of the digital ecosystem must collaborate to establish standards and promote best practices to defend against malware. The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG)’s latest certification program is an important step toward this, and OpenX is one of the initial companies to have successfully implemented TAG’s anti-malware standards. Due to the quick-changing nature of malware fraudsters, a key element of the initiative is TAG’s Malware Threat Sharing Hub, which enables the sharing of information about malware attacks in near real-time.

As the industry makes strides to improve ad quality and protections for all parties, we are working closely with TAG and partners in the Anti-Malware Working Group. The group includes nearly fifty companies and organisations involved in the fight against malware.

With TAG’s Certified Against Malware seal under our belt, we now have completed all of TAG’s certification programs for both ad quality and traffic quality, including the Anti-Fraud, Inventory Quality Guidelines and Anti-Piracy certifications. These external efforts to support the advancement of quality advertising throughout the industry align perfectly with our internal goal of building a safe and fraud-free environment for our partners. Key among those is our proprietary Ad-Quality Scanner, which captures over 1 million creatives a day and helps publishers protect their users from malware, re-directs and other harmful tactics. We remain committed to creating and maintaining a high-quality advertising marketplace through the development of industry-leading solutions and through partnerships with TAG and other organisations.