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Publication Detail
The dark alleys of madison avenue: Understanding malicious advertisements
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Conference Proceeding
  • Authors:
    Zarras A, Kapravelos A, Stringhini G, Holz T, Kruegel C, Vigna G
  • Publication date:
    01/01/2014
  • Pagination:
    373, 379
  • Journal:
    Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC
  • Status:
    Published
Abstract
Copyright © 2014 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. (ACM). Online advertising drives the economy of the World Wide Web. Modern websites of any size and popularity include advertisements to monetize visits from their users. To this end, they assign an area of their web page to an advertising company (so called ad exchange) that will use it to display promotional content. By doing this, the website owner im- plicitly trusts that the advertising company will offer legiti- mate content and it will not put the site's visitors at risk of falling victims of malware campaigns and other scams. In this paper, we perform the first large-scale study of the safety of the advertisements that are encountered by the users on the Web. In particular, we analyze to what extent users are exposed to malicious content through ad- vertisements, and investigate what are the sources of this malicious content. Additionally, we show that some ad ex- changes are more prone to serving malicious advertisements than others, probably due to their deficient filtering mech- Anisms. The observations that we make in this paper shed light on a little studied, yet important, aspect of advertise- ment networks, and can help both advertisement networks and website owners in securing their web pages and in keep- ing their visitors safe.
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