TAG Awards First “Certified Against Malware” Seals to Companies


The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an advertising industry initiative to fight criminal activity in the digital advertising supply chain,  awarded its first set of “Certified Against Malware” Seals to nine companies that have implemented TAG’s rigorous anti-malware standards. The initial recipients of the Seal include AppNexus, DataXu, Google, LKQD, OpenX, Publishers Clearing House, Rocket Fuel, Sovrn, and The Media Trust.

Mike Zaneis, CEO at TAG

“When it comes to malware, protecting our supply chain and protecting our customers go hand-in-hand,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “Every time a computer is infected by malware, it puts the user at risk while potentially turning the computer into another zombie machine in a criminal’s ad fraud network. The inaugural group of recipients of the TAG Certified Against Malware Seal are taking aggressive steps to protect our industry and customers from the scourge of ad-related malware, and we are delighted to be working with them in this important effort.”

To obtain a TAG “Certified Against Malware” seal, companies must comply with a rigorous set of guidelines related to their specific roles in the digital advertising supply chain, including the adoption of TAG’s Best Practices for Scanning Creative for Malware, which were released last year. Other requirements include:

  • Documenting appropriate points of contact at partner companies,
  • Documenting malware scanning responsibilities,
  • Scanning a reasonable percentage of total inventory,
  • Establishing procedure for defining Red Flag events and handling of standard malware incidents,
  • Designating an anti-malware contact, and
  • Establishing a formal post-mortem process for Red Flag malware incidents and reviewing this process semi-annually.

The companies announced today also are information-sharing partners in TAG’s Malware Threat Sharing Hub, a central industry resource hosted by TAG that enables the sharing of near real-time information about malware attacks. The Hub allows companies to update their digital defenses against the most recent infections used in attacks on other victimized companies and consumers, thus serving as a type of immune system for the industry in helping it respond to new and emerging threats. TAG also provides information from the Malware Threat Sharing Hub to law enforcement agencies to assist in the prosecution of criminals distributing and using malware.

TAG’s anti-malware efforts have been led by the organization’s Anti-Malware Working Group, which includes nearly fifty companies and organizations involved in the fight against malware. “We are very grateful to the companies that have dedicated their time, energy, knowledge, and creativity to the work of the Anti-Malware Working Group,” said Jamie O’Donnell, Senior Manager for Compliance Programs at TAG. “Their efforts will pay long-term dividends for a healthier advertising supply chain and safer consumers.”

As the ad industry’s first and only Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO), TAG also has worked closely on its anti-malware efforts with federal law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Justice, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. With the announcement of the inaugural recipients of TAG’s “Certified Against Malware” Seal, TAG has now certified companies in all four of its major program areas.

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