Uncovering 2017’s Largest Malvertising Operation – Confiant


The main goal of Sovrn’s Ad Quality Team is to ensure a clean ad exchange for our publishers. As illustrated by this article, one of the challenges is identifying unwanted buyers within the ecosystem. Recently, Confiant was able to uncover an operation by the Zirconium group which created fake agencies with the goal of delivering malicious ads.

Sovrn works closely with Confiant on identifying these buyers and preventing them from being able to serve ads on our publisher’s sites. Whenever a malicious creative is found, it is blocked by Confiant on Sovrn’s network.


Awesome article!

I am curious, what kind of action is needed from the publisher side or from the supply side platforms that would put pressure on the demand side to vet their buyers / creatives in a more effective way?

I think seeing publications like this come out with content that pushes towards transparency on the demand side is a great sign and a good start.

Great Article from Digiday.com Here

A quote from Confiant’s CEO Louis-David Mangin, featured in digiday.com stated:

“There is a fine balance to making something profitable for the bad guys but not painful enough that it prompts the industry to crack down on it completely,” he said.

This feels like a big part of the problem, in my opinion. The fact that there is not enough pressure from the publishers or supply platforms up the chain towards the end dollar to start excluding these bad buyers and others like them.

This was followed up with a well worded breakdown on a statement made by Justin Kennedy, COO of Sonobi on how to really look at who shoulders the blame, for redirects in particular.

"Publishers were quick to blame supply-side platforms for their redirect issues. And that makes sense since SSPs are the vendors that publishers have direct relationships with. But SSPs are just one stop in the ad supply chain that is responsible for the problem, said Justin Kennedy, COO of Sonobi, a programmatic platform that operates on both the buy and sell sides.

Many demand-side platforms allow buyers to self-declare the type of creative they’re serving, and there is often little human oversight to check whether the advertisers submitting the creative are telling the truth, Kennedy said. The sales structure at many DSPs is also incentivized to bring as many advertisers into the platform as possible, which means lots of ad creatives get passed through without much vetting."

Thank you,