Malvertising Attacks Put as Much as $600 Million in Digital Advertising Revenue at Risk in A Single Month; Technology Developed By Internet Security Experts Helps Publishers Fight Back
LOS ANGELES – the Rubicon Project, the digital advertising technology company, has acquired SiteScout, the malware security technology provider, to build upon the technology that drives the brand protection and security layer of its REVV for publishers™ platform. The acquisition is part of the Rubicon Project’s commitment to engineering comprehensive technology that ensures premium Web publishers a safe, efficient and profitable platform through which they can transact with all demand channels for their audience and ad inventory.
Recent malware attacks on popular sites and apps have reduced site traffic by as much as ten percent in a single month, and with that, a parallel reduction in revenue. Across the industry, this represents a net monthly risk of nearly $600 MM, as publishers across the Internet, from Twitter to Facebook to the New York Times, are falling victim to a massive influx and growing complexity of threats related to malware or “malvertising.” Since most malware is distributed through advertisements and content served through legitimate websites, it falls on publishers to protect their brand, revenue, and customers (consumers and advertisers) from these malicious attacks. Publishers who are not proactively protecting their sites create the risk of customers becoming infected through an attack initiated on their site, spend a lot of time and money trying to chase down problems when they occur, and create a bad reputation.
There is currently almost nothing – technology or otherwise – within legacy ad server products that protects publishers, their visitors or their advertisers from malware attacks. As detailed in the Rubicon Project’s manifesto, “Principles of a REVVolution, or the ad server is dead,” the company is committed to offering publishers technology that counteracts these risks, delivering efficient and safe to all sources of demand, and providing protection to consumers. This commitment drove the company’s decision to acquire SiteScout.
“We began to look for the right security partner to help address this growing issue for publishers in 2009, evaluating several solutions in this space to complement our industry-leading brand protection technology,” said Craig Roah, COO and Founder of the Rubicon Project. “In side-by-side tests, in a live production environment with real ad tags on premium websites, SiteScout was hands-down the most effective technology. In addition, the technology is easily integrated with our platform, and the SiteScout team is a perfect fit with our strong company culture. This acquisition will enable us to protect premium publishers with the most effective and highly scalable technology solution to address the very real, very dangerous and fast-growing problem of malvertising.”
“The threats are transient, the bad guys are smart. Solving the problem of malvertising requires serious technology engineered by security experts that runs in the background to protect websites 24 hours per day, 7 days a week,” said Rob Lipschutz, CEO of SiteScout and who is now tasked with leading the Rubicon Project’s Brand Protection offering. “We are excited to integrate our team’s combined 40 years of security experience and SiteScout’s proprietary technology with the Rubicon Project and its digital advertising technology platform, REVV, to ensure publishers have a complete technology solution that enables them to keep digital media free for consumers.”
There are unique risks to publishers, advertisers and consumers from malvertising attacks:
Publisher risks include: Revenue loss, customer loss, damage or loss of advertiser relationships, negative publicity, damage to brand, lower product sales
Consumer risks include: Virus-infected computers, compromised privacy, decreased willingness to spend online, financial info theft, identity theft
Advertiser risks include: Legitimate ads ‘hijacked’ for ill-intended purposes, loss of brand reputation, damage to the very consumers they’re trying to target
The new comprehensive malware protection powered by SiteScout security is available exclusively to REVV for publishers customers as an extension of the Rubicon Project ad technology platform; the SiteScout malware reporting and other product tools are slated to be available within the REVV platform in the third quarter of 2010.
Lipschutz will be tasked with leading the security and brand protection team to continue building technology innovations for the REVV platform. In addition, the Rubicon Project will open a Seattle office in the Pioneer Square district directly across from Qwest Field. The company will take advantage of the rich engineering talent in Seattle, with plans to hire in the areas of engineering, product and security.
About the Rubicon Project
Headquartered in Los Angeles, the Rubicon Project launched in 2007 with a mission to automate the $65 billion global online advertising industry. The company’s digital advertising technology & data platform, REVV for Publishers™, is engineered to accelerate revenue for premium publishers. Backed by $42 million in funding from Clearstone Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund, IDG Ventures and GE/NBC Universal’s Peacock Equity Fund, the Rubicon Project serves premium publishers like NBC Universal, Gannett and CareerBuilder; optimizing more than 45 billion ads each month and reaching more than 500 million unique Internet users. the Rubicon Project also helps ad sales channels around the world gain access to precise audience-segmented inventory, at broad scale.