Malicious advertising, also referred to as "malvertising," is a relatively new attack vector for cyber criminals that is quickly on the rise. With malvertising, fake malicious ads are delivered (often via advertising networks) to well-known websites as a way to reach millions of users at once on websites they normally trust. Unlike typical spam or virus attacks, which rely on victims to click on a link in an email or accidentally download an infected program, malvertising attacks are presented on popular websites and can download malicious code directly onto a user's computer when the victim views the compromised ad. By infiltrating an entire ad network, the criminal gains access to a broad number of syndicated websites that can spread malicious code even further.
Millions of users have been infected by malvertising threats recently, as evidenced by the high-profile attacks on The New York Times, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, WhitePages.com and other sites. Based on data generated from Dasient's telemetry system, there are approximately 1.3 million malicious ads viewed per day. Scareware, or fake security software, is yet another means for criminals to distribute malware through pop-up ads. Dasient estimates that 41 percent of malvertisements are from fake anti-virus pop-ups and 59 percent are from drive-by downloads of the malicious ads. Dasient's research also uncovered that the probability of a user getting infected from a malvertisement is twice as likely on a weekend and the average lifetime of a malvertisement is 7.3 days.
"Website owners are relying upon their ad partners and ad networks to keep their sites clean and safe for their visitors. When malware is served up to site visitors, trust is lost," said Dr. Neil Daswani, one of Dasient's three co-founders. "With malvertising attacks, not only are users at risk, but publishers, ad networks and website owners also feel the pain - their websites can be potentially blacklisted, and they suffer brand loss and reputation damage, resulting in lost customers and increased technical support costs."
Traditionally, many publishers and ad networks only respond to a bad ad when a user complains about the problem, and one complaint could mean thousands have been infected already by a malvertisement. To deal with the threat, publishers and ad networks have had to manually investigate reports of bad ads, which takes time and resources. Because attacks are sporadic, it makes the source of the bad ad very hard to pin down. To-date, publishers and ad networks have not had an automated solution to address the malvertising problem.
Dasient scans millions of ads and web pages daily to identify the latest malvertising attacks and has built an Infection Library of over 150,000 malvertising attacks and malware. Leveraging this robust database, Dasient's new Anti-Malvertising Solution:
1. Monitors ads from third-party ad networks and automatically identifies malicious advertisements coming into a website or network. 2. Immediately notifies the ad network partner or publisher that a malicious ad came through. 3. Identifies the exact source ad with an ad ID that needs to be shut down. 4. Traces all redirects the ad followed. 5. Captures a screenshot of the ad; and 6. Provides forensic information about the virus that was served for further investigation.
"Every publisher uses an ad network - it's an easy way for malvertisements to get onto publisher sites. The problem is confounded by the fact that ad networks sub-syndicate their ad inventory, which in turn sub-syndicate, leaving ad networks exposed," said Ameet Ranadive, Dasient co-founder. "To date, there has been no automated solution available to deal with this growing problem which is why so many of the threats have gone ignored. Even if they get lucky and find a malicious ad on their own, they still have lost time, money and potentially customers while the ad is out there spreading infection. Our new Anti-Malvertising Solution is truly ground-breaking for ad networks and publishers - they finally have a solution that can immediately identify the source of the malvertising threat to help shut it down."
Dasient's new Anti-Malvertising Solution is available immediately and works seamlessly with a user's existing security and IT infrastructure - there's no complex hardware to install or major software integration. Pricing is based on the number of ad tags and frequency of monitoring. Enterprise pricing starts in the low thousands. Dasient also offers a hybrid solution which includes Dasient's Web Anti-Malware (WAM) service combined with its new Anti-Malvertising Solution.
For more information, please visit: http://info.dasient.com/anti-malvertising-press-release.html
Dasient is an Internet security company that protects businesses from web-based malware attacks. It is the first to develop a complete web anti-malware service that can monitor, automatically identify, and quarantine malware on websites before it can infect visitors and cause a loss of traffic, reputation, and revenue. Dasient was founded by former Google engineers Neil Daswani and Shariq Rizvi and former McKinsey strategy consultant Ameet Ranadive. They are backed by a group of seed investors who also invested in VeriSign, Citrix, Twitter, Digg, Tumbleweed, Finjan, and more. More information about Dasient can be found at www.dasient.com and www.twitter.com/dasient.
About Dasient WAM
The Dasient WAM services are built on a set of behavioral analysis technologies that continually crawl customer sites and the web, identifying new web-based malware infections. The monitoring and diagnostic components are provided to customers as a web service, and the quarantining technologies are made available as web server modules that can be installed by customers or web hosting providers.