Malware is malicious software that infects and takes control of users’ internet browsers. It is downloaded to computers as users open attachments in deceptive emails, click on links to infected websites or download pirated software or apps. Once individual computers are infected, criminal organizations create networks of these computers, called botnets, which mimic human behavior and defraud advertisers by generating non-human traffic.
TAG is coordinating an industry-wide effort to improve defense against malware to create a safer, more enjoyable experience for consumers and a more trustworthy system for advertisers. TAG’s Anti-Malware Working Group seeks to define a process for sharing information about malware through a “hub” in a manner that is responsible, legal and consumer friendly. The groundwork established by this group provides the foundation for some of our efforts. We are focused on:
- Developing security principles to help companies detect malware attacks on their sites;
- Promoting information sharing through a “hub” model;
- Partnering with law enforcement to support investigations and prosecution of criminal activity; and
- Educating consumers.
A recent study from ANA and security firm White Ops found that over 67% of bot traffic came from residential sources. The same study also found that bot activity was significantly higher on computers with older internet browsers. Consumers can protect themselves by regularly updating internet browsers, applications and security and other software. They should also avoid opening attachments or clicking on website links sent by people they don’t know.