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BizReport : Advertising archives : February 11, 2011

OTA: 10 billion+ ad impressions carried malware in 2010

Display ads are one of the major culprits serving up malware to unsuspecting Internet users, according to recent research from the Online Trust Alliance. In 2010, in excess of 10 billion infected ad impressions were estimated to have been served.

by Helen Leggatt

online trust alliance logo.jpgAds that find their way in to the supply chain from "unverified ad agencies" are the main carriers of malicious code, found the Online Trust Alliance. Many of these display ads originate outside the U.S.

While 10 billion is but a mere fraction of the total number of ad impressions served each year (U.S. Internet users alone received a total of 4.9 trillion display ads in 2010), Craig Spiezle, executive director of the OTA says this estimate is extremely conservative.

"We know it's well over 10 billion impressions," he said. "The challenge is this is a moving landscape."

The problem mainly lies in the outsourcing of advertising to multiple networks which, in turn, distribute ads out to yet more sites. It makes spotting malicious ads much more complicated.

Tags: advertising, malware

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