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Twitter Acquires Web Anti-Malware Firm Dasient

Twitter has acquired Dasient Inc., a provider of anti-malware solutions for web sites and ad networks.

Twitter Acquires DasientSunnyvale, California-based Dasient provides a Web Anti-Malware service that helps identify and contain malware on web sites, helping businesses avoid losses of traffic, reputation, and revenue. In early 2010, Dasient introduced an Anti-Malvertising Solution which helps publishers and advertising networks quickly monitor and remediate malicious advertising attacks.

“Effective immediately, we will be bringing our technology, tools, and team to the revenue engineering team at Twitter,” the company wrote in a blog post.

Malicious advertising, also referred to as "malvertising," is a growing method used to distribute malware via advertising tags served through an unsuspecting publisher’s web site, 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.

Advertisers, agencies and now cybercriminals often utilize third party ad tags which allows them to control and monitor their ads, which removes 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. 

Last February, an incident with the London Stock Exchange Web Site serving ads from an ad network that had been serving malvertising ads and thus flagged by google as malicious, showed the damage that can be done to a brand as a result. While the London Stock Exchange didn’t technically serve malware, it was serving ads from servers that were, which caused it to be flagged as a threat to most users attempting to visit the site.

In February 2007, Google Ventures, the venture investment arm of Google, invested an undisclosed sum in Dasient.

“By joining Twitter, Dasient will be able to apply its technology and team to the world’s largest real-time information network,” the company said. “As part of this merger, Dasient is winding down its business and is no longer able to accept new customers.

While the exact plans of how Dasient’s technology will be integrated into Twitter are unclear, it will likely play a role in Twitter’s advertising platform, and could be used to inspect the voluminous number of links that are shared via the service every day, many of which come from spammers and other cybercriminals looking to spread malware.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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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.