Symantec tackles malicious advertising

Symantec announced AdVantage, a new cloud-based service that will enable website owners to discover malware hidden in online advertisements. Malicious advertising (malvertising) poses a growing threat to website owners and their customers reputation and bottom line.

Offered in partnership with Armorize Technologies, Symantec AdVantage will use the latest malware detection techniques to enable website owners to quickly, easily and cost-effectively mitigate malvertising threats.

A website’s success depends on visitors trusting that the site’s links and banner advertisements are safe. Cybercriminals know this and have deployed malvertising to take advantage of that trust.

Malvertising takes three primary forms: cyber criminals hack into websites and inject malware into banner ads, website owners unwittingly distribute malware after cyber criminals compromise their networks, and cyber criminals pose as genuine advertisers and wait for victims to click on their ads.

Symantec Advantage will scan, detect and report malvertising on websites by automatically alerting publishers and identifying the location of malicious advertisements so customers can remove malicious ads that may damage their business’ reputation.

A real-time performance dashboard complements these automatic reports by providing essential insights. For example, Symantec AdVantage will enable customers to compare safe ads to malicious advertisements and discover how and when malvertising occurred by visually tracing and identifying the path and source of infected advertisements.

Craig Spiezle, President and Executive Director, Online Trust Alliance commented: “The OTA formed the Anti-Malvertising Task Force in 2010 in response to increased threats to consumers and to help defend the integrity of interactive advertising. Malvertising is quickly becoming a leading tactic of choice to deliver malware. These attacks are of concern to individuals, site owners and advertisers – from a security, privacy and regulatory perspective. We are delighted that Symantec will be providing services to help the interactive advertising community better monitor and track down these problems – Symantec is well-known in the security community and we expect great things from them.”