Fixing the Internet One Digital Ecosystem at a Time

Note: This article was initially published in ExchangeWire on May 10, 2018.

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Over the past 14 years, The Media Trust has focused on one audacious goal: to fix the internet. The company has continuously monitored the internet for malvertising, creative quality, data leakage, and other compliance issues on behalf of organisations seeking to protect and monetise their mobile apps and websites. In this piece, ExchangeWire speaks with The Media Trust CEO Chris Olson; CRO Alex Calic; and European General Manager Matt O’Neill.

How The Media Trust delivers on its promise has evolved and expanded in scope over the years. The company’s products have noticeably shifted in approach from a reactive detect-and-notify to a pre-emptive identify-evaluate-notify-and-resolve. Olson and CTO Dave Crane started The Media Trust to meet publishers’ emergent need for a systematic way to verify whether an online ad published according to the contract with the ad buyer: on the right page location, to the right audience, at the right time. Next, they pioneered malware scanning and spawned services for malware prevention, creative QA, and data protection. Today, the company helps their clients address the three dimensions of digital risks – security, privacy, and quality – from a single platform known as ‘Digital Vendor Risk Management’. “We work with most of the largest publishers, advertising exchanges, demand side platforms (DSPs), brands, and e-commerce companies”, explains Olson.

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What are the Experts saying about PyRoMine?

Article appeared in Brilliance Security Magazine, April 25, 2018.

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Recently, a new python-based cryptocurrency mining malware that uses the ETERNALROMANCE exploit was uncovered and dubbed “PyRoMine.” This malware is particularly malicious and those Windows machines that have not installed the patch from Microsoft remain vulnerable to this attack and similar attacks.

Alex Calic, Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer of The Media Trust explains, “Cryptomining is a profitable business, and its perpetrators are accelerating in numbers and innovation thanks to a growing number of weaponized exploits in their arsenals. What makes this incident unique and alarming are (1) the exploit’s ability to spread fast around the world, (2) the malware’s ability to disable a machine’s security features for future attacks, and (3) the malware authors’ intent to test a campaign before a multi-phased, full-scale launch. Such a campaign will pave the way for harvesting CPU power and personal data from millions of Windows users. Now is the time for enterprise IT to fortify their defenses by identifying who is executing on their sites and flagging suspect executables that indicate unauthorized activity may be afoot. Otherwise, enterprises may find themselves running afoul of GDPR, a European privacy protection regulation that goes into force on May 25th and is poised to fine infringing parties up to four percent of their annual global revenue.”

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Top 10 Mistakes Companies Make in GDPR Preparation

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This article appeared in the March 14, 2018 issue of ITBusinessEdge 

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With the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) only less than three months away from enforcement, organizations are (hopefully) pulling together their GDPR strategy. However, the nuances of GDPR are something most of us are still trying to understand – and we probably won’t grasp until the regulation is in effect and tested. In the rush to meet the compliance standards, errors will likely be made. I talked to security experts, and here are some of the more common GDPR prep mistakes.

“When it comes to GDPR compliance, the primary focus for most enterprises is on determining customer, partner, and employee-held data elements by the organization. Unfortunately, most have overlooked the significant amount of data collection activities occurring via the organization’s websites and mobile apps,” explained Chris Olson, CEO of The Media Trust. “This is a critical oversight since there are anywhere between tens to hundreds of unknown vendors not only executing code but also collecting personally identifiable information on website visitors. In fact, enterprises tend to find two to three times more vendor-contributed code on their websites than expected.”

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Cryptomining: the new lottery for cybercriminals

This article by Chris Olson, CEO at The Media Trust, was originally published on CSO, March 14, 2018

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Cryptomining has surpassed even ransomware as the revenue generator of choice according to a Cisco Talos report, which claims crypto-mining botnets can earn hackers up to $500 dollars a day and a dedicated effort could equate to more than $100,000 dollars a year. Representing the perfect balance of stealth and wealth for cybercriminals and some unscrupulous, but legitimate online businesses, cryptomining is quickly becoming a major concern for enterprise IT who frequently don’t know their digital assets have been compromised.

With stringent privacy laws coming online in 2018, it is imperative that organizations know all partners that execute code on the website. This information is critical for not only identifying the rogue source but also communicating expectations and enforcing compliance—key mitigating factors when it comes to regulatory penalties.

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The Battle to Secure the Digital Environment

This article by Chris Olson, CEO at The Media Trust, was published in “CSO Online” on January 12, 2018.

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There’s no escaping it: costs to recover from a cyber incident continue to mount, projected to reach $8 Trillion by 2022 according to Juniper Research. Enterprises can’t keep pace with the increasing sophistication and cadence of internet-attacks, which are orchestrated by leveraging the components involved in everyday website functionality.

Information security is a growing, multibillion dollar business. Yet, the hits keep coming, with numerous high-profile breaches in 2017 generating unwanted front-page news for Equifax, Dun & Bradstreet, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Deloitte, Whole Foods Market, Hyatt Hotels, Uber, and Anthem, among others. While there are many facets to the security problem, the digital environment proves to be the most elusive. In fact, the past 12 months bore witness to countless man-in-the-middle attacks, vendor compromises and bots to harm to consumers and employees alike, grabbing credit card data, enslaving system resources, and so much more.

Something is wrong. Could it be that security providers don’t have solutions to address today’s malware problems?

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Websites: The Code for Cyberattacks

This article by Alex Calic, Chief Revenue Officer at The Media Trust, was first published in “Home Business Journal” on December 26, 2017.

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Hacktivists, cybercriminals, disgruntled employees and even students deface websites as a satisfying pastime. Much like spraying graffiti across a storefront or government building, cyber attackers deliver in-your-face messages to not only your market but also the internet at large. What’s worse is that you might not even know about it until customer complaints begin to roll in. Clearly, these are high stakes for a small or medium-sized business that relies on the internet as a revenue channel and brand ambassador.

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MarTech Today: Companies are afraid of everyone’s website but their own

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Article appeared in MarTech Today, Nov. 16, 2017

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The Media Trust CEO: Most of what happens on your web site is not controlled by you

And this third-party code, says Chris Olson, results in dozens of cookies for each user, security vulnerabilities and performance hits.