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Anti-Malvertising Task Force Launched

Online Trust Alliance rRequests comment on new guidelines and best practices
Seattle, WA – September 8, 2010 –The Online Trust Alliance (OTA), today announced it has formed an Anti-Malvertising Task Force in response to increased threats to consumers and to help defend the integrity of interactive advertising. The group has drafted a series of guidelines to support cross-industry efforts to combat malvertising, and it has issued a request for comments from the online advertising community. The Anti-Malvertising Task Force is comprised of over two dozen business, advertising industry and government representatives. The OTA is recruiting additional members to join the organization and participate in this collaborative effort.

According to OTA research conducted during the last 18 months, malvertising has rapidly become a threat to online consumer trust and privacy. As ads created and compromised by cyber criminals proliferate, millions of Internet users’ personal data and information is exposed on a daily basis. By employing a legitimate distribution model and targeting “at risk” PCs, cyber criminals are attempting to profit by deploying malware on unprotected systems. OTA analysis found a 250 percent increase in compromised display ads over the past quarter, served by over 100 unique ad networks and exchanges.

“The business and security communities are to be commended for their efforts to help develop best practices supporting end-to-end online trust,” said Craig Spiezle, executive director of the Online Trust Alliance. “By working together we can establish controls and accountability to bolster online confidence, allowing consumers to continue to enjoy the value they receive from advertising supported online services.”

"Malvertising is a serious threat to both consumers and the online advertising industry," said Leslie Harris, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology. "We support the OTA's efforts to bring stakeholders together to discuss consensus approaches to address this problem."

Members of the task force are meeting on September 22 at Georgetown University to review recommendations, operational best practices and potential technical remedies. Interested parties and agencies may apply to attend and join the task force by emailing [email protected] Copies of the guidelines are posted at https://otalliance.org/malvertising.html.

Task force attendees may also attend the Online Trust & Cybersecurity Forum at Georgetown University September 23-24, immediately following the malvertising workshop. Speakers include US Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, Whitehouse Cyber security Advisor, Howard Schmidt (invited), Congressman Cliff Stearns and representatives of the Federal Trade Commission, FBI, Direct Marketing Association and Interactive Advertising Bureau. They will be joined by over 30 other industry, business and government leaders who will discuss best practices to protect online trust and maintain confidence and vitality of the Internet economy.

About the 5th Annual Online Trust and Cybersecurity Forum Hosted at Georgetown University in Washington DC, September 22-24, the goals of the 5th Annual Online Trust and Cybersecurity Forum are to help e-commerce companies, governmental agencies, financial institutions and marketers enhance consumer protection while protecting their brands from emerging threats, including malvertising, brand deception and identity theft. To register for the Malvertising Workshop or attend the Forum visit https://otalliance.org/dc.html.