Journal of Information Systems Applied Research

Volume 10

V10 N3 Pages 29-37

December 2017

Malvertising - A Rising Threat To The Online Ecosystem

Catherine Dwyer
Pace University
New York, NY 10038, USA

Ameet Kanguri
Pace University
New York, NY 10038, USA

Abstract: Online advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry that supports web content providers around the globe. A sophisticated technology known as real time bidding (RTB) dominates the advertising landscape, connecting advertisers with specific online customers of interest. With RTB, when web visitors connect to a site, advertising networks are notified of space available on that site along with what can be gleaned about the visitor. These combinations of space and visitor are auctioned, and the winning bid’s ad content is served to the web visitor. The entire process, from a visitor landing on a publisher’s page to ads being auctioned, selected and served, takes 200 milliseconds, the time needed to snap your fingers. This tightly choreographed interaction is a technical marvel, but one with built in risks. The just-in-time collaboration between ever changing technology providers gives an opening to malicious actors, who through devious means, use ad networks to deliver malware rather than ads. Delivering malware as an ad is called malvertising, and its presence on otherwise credible sites is dangerous, undermining the business models of trustworthy publishers and legitimate online advertisers. The purpose of this paper is to introduce malvertising, describe its relationship with online advertising, and identify the risks RTB and malvertising bring to the online ecosystem.

Keywords: ad blockers, malvertising, Malware detection, Online advertising, real time bidding

Download this article: JISAR - V10 N3 Page 29.pdf

Recommended Citation: Dwyer, C., Kanguri, A. (2017). Malvertising - A Rising Threat To The Online Ecosystem. Journal of Information Systems Applied Research, 10(3) pp 29-37. http://jisar.org/2017-10/ ISSN: 1946-1836. (A preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of CONISAR 2016)