Case Study


Outbrain Case Study: Malvertising Detection

The Challenges

At the core of Outbrain’s business model is its ability to deliver quality content for web visitors while maintaining the trust of premium Internet publishers. However, it was increasingly challenged by malvertising (malicious ads) that were threatening to compromise its end-user experience and potentially expose its publisher partners. Outbrain recognized that malvertising and related traffic to bad pages would, if not effectively addressed, erode trust and risk publisher attrition.

To protect its business for the future, Outbrain took a proactive strategy to continuously monitor its publishers and take action as malicious ads were found.

The Solution

Outbrain turned to RiskIQ for help in identifying publisher landing pages that were out of compliance with its terms of service, and for its advanced monitoring and detection techniques, which includes user emulation by IPs, browser types, geolocation and browsing history. Outbrain also draws on RiskIQ’s robust API that enables customers to submit Ad Tags and Pages for scanning malware, drive-by-download exploits, user-initiated malware downloads and phishing sites.

Outbrain is considered a strategic partner that is trusted by our partners and end-users. As such, we see it as our responsibility to get ahead of any potential risk and act on their behalf. RiskIQ continuously monitors our landing pages for malware and other malicious threats to ensure our customers are safely interacting with our content. Our partnership with RiskIQ is a win for us, a strategic advantage for our publisher customers, and a no-brainer for the quality of experience and safety of our consumers.

--Yossi Amara, Vice President of Information Security & IT Outbrain

The Results

RiskIQ URL Intelligence monitors Outbrain’s publisher network to enforce the exclusion of drive-by downloads. If a drive-by is detected, the advertiser is notified and empowered to take appropriate action. RiskIQ also enforces Outbrain’s ban of JavaScript pop-ups, protecting web visitors from fake, malware-laden updates and easily hacked user-facing dialog windows.

Through URL Intelligence, RiskIQ has enabled Outbrain to detect malvertising, enforce its policies, and continuously monitor its publisher network and publisher landing pages for new risks and policy violations. As a result, Outbrain is able to get ahead of any risk posed and can ensure the hygiene of its publisher network and the viability of its business model. By taking this proactive stance on malvertising detection and monitoring, it has eliminated the need for manual discovery of malicious landing pages, and can protect its publishers’ audiences from new threats before they can do real damage.

RiskIQ’s ability to monitor the Internet at scale has given Outbrain the necessary intelligence to take action against those responsible for any infected pages in its network. Additionally, RiskIQ’s reporting feature–that provides documentation and specific details about out-of compliance landing pages–enables Outbrain to help its publishers understand why landing pages have been temporarily removed from the network.

Outbrain and RiskIQ continually collaborate to ensure cross-browser and platform compatibility to create and maintain a healthy publisher network, resulting in a consistently positive Internet user experience.