DEVCON, Local Media Association and AdHack.org Launch Largest Study of Ad Fraud Targeting Local Media Companies
DEVCON FREEDOM for MEDIA ad fraud detection platform to be made available free to local media publishers in effort to fight $19 billion industry-wide cyber-fraud threat
CHICAGO/ATLANTA—DEVCON, Local Media Association (LMA) and AdHack.org have announced plans to collaborate with local media publishers to create the largest ever study of ad fraud in the publishing industry. AdHack, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of the detrimental costs of ad fraud ($19 billion in 2018), will offer LMA’s more than 3,000 members free access to Atlanta-based cybersecurity company DEVCON’s FREEDOM for MEDIA ad fraud detection platform. By participating in the program, LMA members will use the DEVCON platform to immediately detect any incoming ad fraud activity while contributing the data discovered by the platform to the comprehensive study.
“One of the biggest challenges in addressing the publishing industry’s ad fraud problem is getting a real, holistic view of the criminal ad fraud activity that’s actually taking place within ad networks,” said LMA President, Nancy Lane. “Our concerted effort with DEVCON and AdHack ultimately serves to aggregate real-time data so that we can identify patterns in these fraudulent attacks and empower local media publishers to properly fight them. Ad fraud is one of our industry’s most under-publicized threats and the time has come for us to take bold action in arming LMA members with the best resources to understand and combat this problem.”
LMA members enroll in the DEVCON FREEDOM for MEDIA program at either AdHack.org or FreedomforMedia.com. Publishers then install DEVCON’s FREEDOM for MEDIA platform to detect fraudulent ads within up to three of their networks and provide real-time data about exploits, malware, cookie stuffing, latency and other issues affecting their sites. In addition to bespoke, publisher-specific reports of these instances of fraud, LMA members will have immediate insight into criminal activity targeting their ad networks, including the ability to white-list problematic ads while learning best practices for addressing the fraud and preventing its return. LMA members enrolled in the FREEDOM for MEDIA program will also receive anonymized comparisons to other publishers within their control group, as well as access to ongoing webinars and collaborations within their LMA peer groups.
AdHack has joined forces with DEVCON, the LMA and local media AdOps champion, OpsCo, to educate and inform news organizations of all sizes and mediums of the nature of the cybercrime targeting their ad networks. The joint study is the first of its kind in the news media industry, leveraging the experiences of more than 3,000 news entities across a variety of mediums. The study and resulting whitepaper will document the daily number of flagged ads, types of ads flagged, reasons for flagging and underlying patterns in the flagged ads — all in an effort to bring awareness and understanding to an oft-overlooked element of the contemporary journalism landscape.
“In order to put up a strong defense against ad fraud and cybertheft, we need widespread understanding of the problem and widespread availability of the solutions to fight it,” said Maggie Louie, CEO and Co-Founder of DEVCON. “By offering free access to our FREEDOM for MEDIA platform to the community of publishers within the LMA, we are able to better understand the ad fraud problem at a local level, while enabling these publishers to fight back against fraudulent ads in their network. We look forward to the results of the AdHack/LMA study and to working toward a greater collective understanding of our industry’s ad fraud threat.”
About The Local Media Association
The Local Media Association is a thriving and innovative association that serves more than 2,800 local media companies (newspapers, TV, radio, directories, digital news sites, and more), as well as research and development partners in the industry. LMA assists local media companies with business transformation and digital growth digital via cutting-edge programs, conferences, experiential learning, webinars, research and training. LMA is intensely focused on helping local media companies discover new and sustainable business models. Learn more at http://localmedia.org.
Founded in 2017 in Memphis, Tenn., DEVCON is a cybersecurity software company whose proprietary technology empowers publishers to maximize their advertising revenues by identifying and eliminating fraudulent ads within their networks. The product of some of the most influential newsrooms in America, the DEVCON team is a veteran mix of media executives, white hat hackers and IT pros firmly dedicated to the longevity and prosperity of journalism. DEVCON expanded its headquarters to Atlanta in 2018 after joining the 2018 Engage cohort and becoming an ATDC signature company. It is also a Techstars Barclay London 2018 alumni. DEVCON's FREEDOM for MEDIA program offers publishers a free tool to identify ad fraud as it happens in their networks, while the company's premium platform enables tracking and blocking of Bad Ads. Beyond digital revenue protection for publishers, DEVCON brings powerful anti-money laundering software to the FinTech sector, having aided law enforcement in facilitating the first-ever criminal conviction for online ad theft.
AdHack.org is a nonpartisan nonprofit that illuminates the issue of ad fraud for publishers, brands and agencies, seeking solutions. A neutral body sitting in the juncture of publishers, agencies and networks, AdHack seeks to educate, convene and build awareness of cybertheft within the publishing industry in order to protect quality journalism and its publishers. Toward this end, AdHack collects and shares the data it collects on ad fraud with academia to build better protections in journalism’s future.