The Media Trust Announces the Release of Mobile Scanner, a Service For the Immediate Detection and Remediation of Mobile Redirects

Mobile Scanner’s functionality is a major step in the prevention of mobile redirects, which negatively impact the user experience, revenue streams and the overall credibility of the mobile ad ecosystem

The Media Trust, the global leader in monitoring and protecting the online and mobile advertising ecosystem, today announced the release of Mobile Scanner, a subscription-based service that immediately detects and stops mobile redirects before they can negatively impact the user experience and revenues for publishers, ad networks, exchanges and Demand Side Platforms (DSPs). Designed specifically for the mobile ecosystem, this new service scans client’s mobile websites, applications and ad tags on a constant, 24/7 basis, ensuring immediate detection of mobile redirects on pre-scan as well as any changes in flight. Mobile Scanner customizes the level of daily scans performed based on the specific security needs of each client.

More specifically, the service constantly scans all direct, rotating and programmatic ad serve tags and content found on either a mobile website or mobile application. Providing comprehensive support for the iOS, Android and Microsoft Mobile platforms, Mobile Scanner works across a wide range of device types, including iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire and all leading Android devices.

 A mobile redirect is a small piece of code embedded into an ad tag or recommended third-party content. When the infected ad or content appears on the mobile device’s screen, the user is suddenly and abruptly redirected from their current website or app to app stores, pornographic sites or other unwanted content. Mobile device users’ tolerance for these redirects is extremely low so it’s critical to detect and terminate the redirects before they interrupt the user experience.

This task, however, is complicated by the complex nature of the mobile ad and third-party content ecosystems. During the process of serving an ad or content, these mobile redirects can easily be inserted at multiple entry points, making early detection and the identification of the culprits extremely difficult. Therefore, the only way to prevent mobile redirects from disrupting end users and revenue streams is through constant, 24/7 monitoring of websites, ad tags and content, which allows for their immediate detection, interception and termination.

“Mobile redirects are quickly becoming a major headache for all players in the mobile advertising and content-serving ecosystems. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix as the threat is constant. The Media Trust’s Mobile Scanner provides publishers, ad networks, exchanges and DSPs with the 24/7 vigilance needed to combat these redirects,” said Chris Olson, The Media Trust’s founder and CEO. “This new service also underscores our total commitment to securing the ads, content and websites of all participants in the mobile and online ad ecosystem.”

The Media Trust scans more than 150 million ad tags and 750,000 websites each month.  From this expansive, yet detailed view into the mobile and online ad ecosystem, the Company determined 75% of all current mobile redirects originate from gaming ads run through ad networks. The remaining 25% of redirects occur in travel, CPG, automotive and banking ads as well as third-party content, including content recommendation engines, reviews or other third-party sources. A vast majority of the redirects The Media Trust detected redirect users to application marketplaces, where other mobile games are typically promoted. The remainder of the redirects observed pushed device users to either pornographic or hack financial and phishing websites.

In several isolated incidents, The Media Trust’s Malware Team has detected and helped terminate mobile redirects containing malicious code; but at this time malware is not a widespread problem in mobile redirects. Eventually, as malware providers become more proficient at exploiting mobile operating systems and specific device types, the Company’s Malware Team predicts the insertion of malicious code into mobile redirects will become commonplace.  Subsequently, it’s critical to adopt the technology needed to protect mobile websites, apps and ad tags from mobile redirects now.

Today, most threats—like with mobile redirects—spread via third-party access to websites, which places them beyond IT’s direct control, so to focus solely on firewalls and protecting one’s own content is insufficient. Furthermore, while traditional security methods will eventually detect mobile redirects, their long lag times between detection and resolution cannot prevent the user experience, revenues and, ultimately, the website’s brand from being negatively impacted. Constant, 24/7 monitoring of websites relying on third-party code is the only means to minimize, mitigate and prevent not just mobile redirects, but also malware, site performance issues and data  leakage, which leads to privacy violations and the unauthorized monetization of a website’s audience data by a third party.