Security Experts:

Google Invests in Anti-Malware Firm

Google Ventures, the venture investment arm of Google, has invested in Dasient Inc., a provider of anti-malware solutions for websites and ad networks.

The companies today announced that Dasient has received an undisclosed sum from Google Ventures to accelerate the company's future growth plans, extend its reach into new markets, and enhance research and product development efforts.Dasient Logo

Malicious advertising, also referred to as "malvertising," is a growing method used to distribute malware via advertising tags served through an unsuspecting publisher’s website, blog comments, forums and other forms of user generated content, allowing cybercriminals to create content that used to carry out a wide range of malicious attacks.

"Malware is one of the fastest-growing threats on the Internet today, and Dasient has developed innovative solutions that aggressively tackle this problem head on," said Karim Faris, Partner, Google Ventures. "Now, more than ever, the safety of the Internet is at risk, underscored by the rapidly increasing number of websites and advertisements infected with malware.

The additional funds will also help the company expand its sales and marketing initiatives to further penetrate existing markets and develop new market opportunities. In 2010, Dasient made record sales of its industry-leading solutions in the financial, media, and e-commerce verticals. Dasient also achieved triple-digit customer growth and doubled its team size as it expanded to new headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Advertisers, agencies and now cybercriminals often utilize “third party ad tags,” allowing them to control and monitor their ads which removing the ability for publishers to be able to control what ads are served. With larger publishers, ad networks and exchanges having thousands of different ad tags running at any given time, monitoring all campaigns and creative being served is a challenge.

"Just about anyone with the malicious knowledge can get in and take down your website and that could potently affect your bottom line", said Dasient customer, Jim Shugarts, Director of Field Support for MediaNews Group interactive.

Google, in response to the increasing level of threats, setup Anti-Malvertising.com, a Web site they call an “Investigative Research Engine.” The site, setup in June 2009, checks a variety of independent, third party sites that track possible attempts to distribute malware through advertising and serve as a resource to educating Internet users, ad network operators and publishers about the problems. Google also had also hired a “Head of Anti-Malvertising,” Eric Davis, who was in the role since 2008 but now holds the position of Global Public Policy Manager where he is responsible for setting and implementation of Google's global public policy and industry relations strategy for security, and safety.

In its most recent Quarterly Malware Update, Dasient reported malware on more than 1.2 million websites, more than twice as many as in the same quarter a year before. To address this increasing threat Dasient provides a Web Anti-Malware service that help identify and contain malware on websites, helping businesses avoid losses of traffic, reputation, and revenue. In early 2010 Dasient also set new marks for anti-malware technology innovation, introducing an Anti-Malvertising Solution which helps publishers and advertising networks quickly monitor and remediate malicious advertising attacks.

"Dasient started with the vision to help secure the world from web-based malware - and two years later, we are proud to report that our technology has helped keep millions of websites malware-free," said Paul Stich, CEO of Dasient. "Dasient is thrilled to receive this new round of funding from Google Ventures to continue our strong growth and contribute new research and future technology innovations that can help curb the spread of sophisticated malware attacks."

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.