Adgregate Markets and McAfee plan to announce Monday a partnership to secure rich media ad units on a variety of ad networks and publisher sites. The two companies developed processes and code to protect rich media ads against being injected with malicious advertising, known as malvertising.
Cybercriminals have been exploiting weaknesses in rich media ad units, injecting malicious code. When consumers click on an infected ad their computer becomes infected with malware. The New York Times had a recent case.
Publishers and ad networks try to do a good job of screening and looking for malicious code, but "frankly, we believe that's like trying to find a needle in a haystack," says Henry Wong, chief executive officer at Adgregate.
So Adgregate and McAfee set out to build processes and technology that secure the ad unit rather than just the ad. "This way you could run on any type of ad or publishing network, and always protect the ad from being injected with malicious code," Wong says.
The McAfee Secure service performs daily site scans that test the retailer's Web site for more than 10,000 vulnerabilities. If someone decompiles the code in the rich media ad and tries to insert malicious code, the ad will render useless. It won't play.
Wong says it's very difficult to follow every piece of code that goes into these ad units, and he believes the two companies have become the first to create a secure rich media ad container to prevent cybercriminals from manipulating the ads.
In a threat report published in 2009, McAfee named malicious code in rich media ad units as one of the top 10 threats. The secure ad unit should provide as much protection against Malware for the brand's reputation as it will for the ad unit.
Wong says a deal has been signed with InterActive Corp. (IAC) to start rolling out ads in May for a specific brand. The product also becomes available this week through DoubleClick, PointRoll, EyeWonder, Eyeblaster, Linkstorm, Collective Media, Greystripe, Demandware, IBM Websphere Commerce, Escalate Retail, and more.
Aside from the deal with McAfee, Adgregate will announce a partnership with TRUSTe, which provides an online privacy trust mark. The two will develop privacy standards for distributed commerce ads and applications for online, mobile, and social networks.
As part of this partnership, TRUSTe has certified Adgregate Web privacy practices and verified the customer data management practices of Adgregate's distributed commerce platform and Adgregate's platform of products, including ShopFans, ShopAds, and SecureAds, to maintain Adgregate's privacy commitment.
TRUSTe's seal will become a fixture in Adgregate's ads and widgets. The symbols are intended to give consumers confidence when they interact with these new platforms.