Bad ads: Publishers look to stop malvertising for good

New media initiative aims to prevent fraudsters from exploiting digital advertising platforms.

“If you apply something like an ad blocker you’re depriving the publisher of the revenue from the traffic,” Maggie Louie, CEO of cybersecurity vendor Devcon, told The Daily Swig.

“And so it’s a very difficult position for everyone, because publishers are being exploited, they don’t want these bad ads, and then consumers, in order to block the bad ads, block all of the ads."

“That’s where we really hope to create some balance within that ecosystem,” Louie added. “To provide the consumer safety, the publisher safety, and allow some good revenue to still flow.”

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Maggie Louie
DEVCON, Local Media Association and AdHack.org Combine to Launch Largest Study of Ad Fraud Targeting Local Media Companies

CHICAGO and ATLANTA, Oct. 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- DEVCON, Local Media Association (LMA) and AdHack.org today announced plans to collaborate with local media publishers to create the largest ever study of ad fraud in the publishing industry. AdHack, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of the detrimental costs of ad fraud ($19 billionin 2018), will offer LMA's more than 2,800 members free access to Atlanta-based cybersecurity company DEVCON's FREEDOM for MEDIA ad fraud detection platform. By participating in the program, LMA members will use the DEVCON platform to immediately detect any incoming ad fraud activity while contributing the data discovered by the platform to the comprehensive study. The program will be officially announced to LMA members Oct. 24 in a joint webinar hosted by DEVCON.

"One of the biggest challenges in addressing the publishing industry's ad fraud problem is getting a real, holistic view of the criminal ad fraud activity that's actually taking place within ad networks," said LMA President, Nancy Lane. "Our concerted effort with DEVCON and AdHack ultimately serves to aggregate real-time data so that we can identify patterns in these fraudulent attacks and empower local media publishers to properly fight them. Ad fraud is one of our industry's most under-publicized threats and the time has come for us to take bold action in arming LMA members with the best resources to understand and combat this problem."

LMA members enroll in the DEVCON FREEDOM for MEDIA program at the LMA website, as well as through AdHack.org or FreedomforMedia.com. Publishers then install DEVCON's FREEDOM for MEDIA platform to detect fraudulent ads within up to three of their networks and provide real-time data about exploits, malware, cookie stuffing, latency and other issues affecting their sites. In addition to bespoke, publisher-specific reports of these instances of fraud, LMA members will have immediate insight into criminal activity targeting their ad networks, including the ability to white-list problematic ads while learning best practices for addressing the fraud and preventing its return. LMA members enrolled in the FREEDOM for MEDIA program will also receive anonymized comparisons to other publishers within their control group, as well as access to ongoing webinars and collaborations within their LMA peer groups.

AdHack has joined forces with DEVCON, the LMA and local media AdOps champion, OpsCo, to educate and inform news organizations of all sizes and mediums of the nature of the cybercrime targeting their ad networks. The joint study is the first of its kind in the news media industry, leveraging the experiences of more than 3,000 news entities across a variety of mediums. Publishers who opt into the study will gain first access to the resulting whitepaper which will document the daily number of flagged ads, types of ads flagged, reasons for flagging and underlying patterns in the flagged ads — all in an effort to bring awareness and understanding to an oft-overlooked element of the contemporary journalism landscape.

"In order to put up a strong defense against ad fraud and cybertheft, we need widespread understanding of the problem and widespread availability of the solutions to fight it," said Maggie Louie, CEO and Co-Founder of DEVCON. "By offering free access to our FREEDOM for MEDIA platform to the community of publishers within the LMA, we are able to better understand the ad fraud problem at a local level, while enabling these publishers to fight back against fraudulent ads in their network. We look forward to the results of the AdHack/LMA study and to working toward a greater collective understanding of our industry's ad fraud threat."

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Christina Brown