Feeds

Senate slams ad servers for security failings

Committee plans hearing on malware dangers

Security for virtualized datacentres

The US Senate has issued a report calling for the online advertising industry to improve its security against malware attacks, and for lawmakers to legislate tougher penalties should it fail to do so.

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs said that the advertising landscape as it now exists "makes it impossible" for users to be protected against malware attacks while visiting sites.

"The online advertising industry has grown in complexity to such an extent that each party can conceivably claim it is not responsible when malware is delivered to a user's computer through an advertisement," the committee said in its report.

"An ordinary online advertisement typically goes through five or six intermediaries before being delivered to a user's browser, and the ad networks themselves rarely deliver the actual advertisement from their own servers."

The report (PDF), which is the result of a subcommittee investigation of malware incidents (such as the recent attack on Yahoo!) concludes that the advertising sector is unable to police itself with current standards. As such it will require heightened effort from industry bodies to impose security standards and develop networks to share information on cyber threats and incidents, the report concludes.

Additionally, the committee believes that ad networks should implement "circuit breaker" protections in which site administrators or network operators can check and disable ads containing malware code at various points in the ad-serving process.

Should the industry fail to put the needed protections in place, the senators recommend that stronger laws be written and additional powers granted to regulatory agencies.

"Self-regulatory bodies should endeavor to develop comprehensive security guidelines for preventing online advertising malware attacks," the committee said.

"In the absence of effective self-regulation, the FTC should consider issuing comprehensive regulations to prohibit deceptive and unfair online advertising practices that facilitate or fail to take reasonable steps to prevent malware, invasive cookies, and inappropriate data collection delivered to Internet consumers through online advertisements."

The committee is planning to follow up the report with a hearing on Thursday. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.