Malware is on the rise as share shift moves from offline to online…

I’ve always believed true adoption of the DSP era is only likely when the technology that underpins the revolution can combat spyware, fraud and malware.  The belief of commoditization

of inventory in a true marketplace based on real-time demand and supply mechanics will only gain traction if there is a universal belief that the inventory pools are premium and brand safe. Otherwise we will always remain in a hiatus position and fragmentation will continue. As we evolve our bidding techniques in the marketplace the verification tools are also evolving and the research is gaining momentum.

Barracuda Labs (great name – named after the fearsome fish) is a world leader and global multi-disciplinary research and threat analysis company that concentrates on the new tech age. They recently released their 2010 mid year security report and the findings particularly on malware are alarming!.

Except taken from their web blog (

We conducted a study across Bing, Google, Twitter and Yahoo! over a roughly two-month period. The analysis reviews more than 25,000 trending topics and nearly 5.5 million search results. The purpose of the study was to analyze trending topics on popular search engines to understand the scope of the problem and to identify the types of topics used by malware distributors.  Key highlights:

  • Overall, Google takes the crown for malware distribution – turning up more than twice the amount of malware as Bing, Twitter and Yahoo! combined when searches on popular trending topics were performed. Google presents at 69 percent; Yahoo! at 18 percent; Bing at 12 percent; and Twitter at one percent.
  • The average amount of time for a trending topic to appear on one of the major search engines after appearing on Twitter varies tremendously: 1.2 days for Google, 4.3 days for Bing, and 4.8 days for Yahoo!
  • Over half of the malware found was between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. GMT.
  • The top 10 terms used by malware distributors include the name of a NFL player, three actresses, a Playboy Playmate and a college student who faked his way into Harvard.

They go on to discuss the twitter fear and presented findings at the world hacker fair; DefCon 18 in LV. It’s understandable that Google would come up tops in this report due to their sheer mass in the advertising landscape but it does bring about a concern in terms of what is Google doing to counteract this? Not only Google but all should be concerned.

The report goes on to discuss in great detail twitter malware, search engine malware but does not go into display malware. Publishers are well aware of the challenges of bad ads and often they lose advertisers, audiences and revenue when they are associated with malware and irrelevant bad ads. similarly ad networks are often blamed by advertisers when there ads are placed on bad publishers. As the aggregation of inventory grows online and eyes shift from the offline world to the online world – we are going to see a rise in malware and irresponsible ad management.

So whilst DSPs are powering agency and advertiser RTB audience buying there still is the issue of malware and how to contain harmful advertising from developing. The DSPs are concentrating on the demand side but will need to evolve to concentrate on the verification tools in order to truly offer a one stop shop.


About adsolver

Ad-exchange expert with Rightmedia and Yahoo. Strategist on the evolution and ecology of the international display digital platform. Specialties: Evanglising Glocal digital marketing with outstanding experiences in Ad Exchanges, Behavioural Targeting, eCommerce, Multivariate Testing and data mashing. Have worked previously in the following industries: Internet ebusiness solutions multivariate testing Oil and Gas experience and Renewable Energy White-labelling Travel websites Telecommunications Advertising Exchanges
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