Security Experts:

New Security Advisory Council Battles Bots On Behalf Of The Online Advertising Industry

New Security Council Will Bring Industry Experts Together To Study and Address Online Advertising Security Issues

A new Security Advisory Council specifically focused on online advertising has been formed with the goal of finding ways to combat bots and other security issues that plague the online advertising industry.

According to Solve Media, the firm leading the formation of the council, bot traffic could be wasting $1.7 billion of online ad spend, and damaging both online publishers and advertisers alike. For that very reason, 69% of IT publishing professionals said this was an "extreme concern" in a recent survey.

Aside from sucking up advertising budgets, malicious bots can steal personal information, republish content without permission, post malicious content, and much more.

eMarketer predicts online display ad spend will reach $15.3 billion globally in 2012. Last month, Solve Media said that since 2011 it has witnessed a 400 percent rise in aberrant traffic across registration, voting, commenting and contact services on the web.

While Solve Media may not be well known to folks in the security industry, they have managed to group together some high profile council members including Kevin Mitnick (consultant and famed computer hacker), Adam O’Donnell (Sourcefire), Bruce Schneier (BT), Chris Wysopal (Veracode) and Elad Yoran (Vaultive).

Solve Media has a CAPTCHA security platform (TYPE-IN) designed to beat bots by authenticating that audiences are human. The core function is similar to other CAPTCHA models, but Solve Media has a unique twist and uses advertising within the CAPTCHA process, forcing users to view a short advertisement and answer a question about the ad as part of confirming they are human.

“Security is a growing concern for both advertisers and publishers as they recognize the substantial negative brand and monetary impact of bots,” says Ari Jacoby, CEO of Solve Media. “Agencies prefer to work with publishers that have safeguards against bot traffic so they are not wasting ad spend, and publishers want to offer quality inventory. To improve the industry, we enlisted the top information security experts to discuss how best to address online security quandaries and advise our agency clients and publisher partners.”

"I have spent my career counseling the masses on how security really works in the hopes of helping companies, organizations and the general public prevent online attacks and security breaches," says Bruce Schneier. "Solve Media's unique CAPTCHA solution is also helping to prevent security breaches by hampering bots access to advertiser, publisher and consumer data. I've joined Solve Media's Security Council to further combat Internet security vulnerabilities."

"It is important for security experts to understand vulnerabilities from the attacker’s perspective to be effective,” says Chris Wysopal, CTO of Veracode. "The steps Solve Media is taking to combat Internet bots is a solid start and my experience identifying and exposing Internet security vulnerabilities will help them build out their offering.” "Having started my career hacking into some of the most secure government and corporate fortresses, I am fully aware of how serious a threat there is to public and private sector security,” says Kevin Mitnick, CEO of Mitnick Security Consulting, LLC.

“I’m happy to bring my expertise to the Solve Media Security Council in the hopes of helping others protect their valuable information assets."

This is certainly not the first group formed with the mission to combat botnets. Earlier this year, the Industry Botnet Group, a White House-backed industry-led working group, was formed with the goal to develop a stronger coordinated attack against botnets and the criminals behind them. Additionally, in March 2012, the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), voted to approve a voluntary initiative for U.S. ISP’s, known as the Anti-Bot Code of Conduct for ISPs.

Related Reading: Botnets - Think Globally and Act Locally