Digital advertisers’ Trustworthy Accountability Group said it will take on a new cybersecurity role as the first information-sharing and analysis organization in the industry.
“Despite the widespread vulnerabilities facing digital advertising — including ad-distributed malware, malicious pirate sites, and security holes exploited by fraud — there has not been an official ISAO to help coordinate the digital ad industry’s response to those threats to this point,” Andrew Weinstein, a spokesperson for the group, said.
TAG’s announcement comes the same day of the discovery of Judy malware, auto-clicking adware that reached over 4.5 million downloads in the Google Play store across 41 apps. The infecting apps were recently removed by Google after several years on the store.
Malware cuts into the advertising industry’s bottom line. In addition to slowing connections and distracting users, malvertising can pose serious cybersecurity risks and deliver downright dangerous payloads.
Making ads more secure raises the possibility that users won’t have to block them out of fear of attack. Many security experts recommend ad blockers, and those tools have surged 30 percent in usage in the last year.
TAG is creating a malware threat-sharing hub, a data center IP list of fraud threats and a compliance officer network to share near-real time intelligence within the industry and with law enforcement.
“As digital threats grow, we all must continue to adapt and innovate. TAG has added yet another tool in the fight against fraud and exploitation in the digital realm,” FBI agent David Farquhar, a Deputy Director at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, said in a statement.
TAG is run by the biggest advertising companies on the planet including Facebook, Google, AOL/Verizon, Disney, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros.