How Ad Tech is Fighting Malware in Advertising

For years, digital advertising has been plagued by cases of malware hidden beneath the surface of otherwise unassuming ads. While consumers have paid the price for clicking on these infected ads, little headway has been made in eliminating malware until now. Today, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is working with major ad tech companies like Google, RocketFuel, Media Math, and more to eliminate malware from ads.

Scanning for Malware

TAG is a trade group that specializes in reducing fraud in the digital advertising space, previously taking on piracy and other major sources of fraud. The have set forth new guidelines for scanning ads for malware, and have devised a certification badge for companies that uphold these standards. The goal is to get the largest ad tech companies in the habit of scanning a certain percentage of their ads for malware on an ongoing basis. When malware is detected, the information is then forwarded to other ad tech companies in the group, as well as the FBI. The goal is to increase awareness, and arm companies around the globe with the information they need to fight malware.

The Early Stages

Currently, TAG is relying on the honors system to ensure that companies are holding up their end of the bargain. For the most part, it is mutually beneficial for ad tech companies to complete the scans and share their results with others in the industry. Over time, TAG intends to produce a system of checks and balances to verify that scans are being done properly and that a large enough sample size is being taken to reasonably detect threats. While these tools are still in their early stages of development, the support of industry leaders like Google and RocketFuel is promising as a way of setting a global standard.

For companies who use digital advertising, TAG’s efforts to eliminate malware herald in a new generation of safer, more trustworthy ads. This will lead to greater ROI on ad spend as consumers regain their trust in digital advertising. In addition, it will provide an opportunity for ad tech companies to work together with government officials on rooting out the sources of malware, rather than treating the symptoms after an infection has spread.