This SaaS-based service improves the overall health of retailers’ digital properties by continuously monitoring the activity of all third-party website vendors, including the domains and cookies rendering in consumers’ browsers
June 3, 2015 — McLean, VA — The Media Trust, the global leader in monitoring and protecting the online and mobile ecosystems, today announced the release of Media Scanner for Retail, a SaaS-based service that provides online retailers with real-time alerts on the presence of web-based malware, data leakage (of valuable first-party data) and site performance issues. Unbeknownst to many retailers, the third-party vendors they use to render their websites and apps—data management platforms, content delivery networks, automated marketing services, videos, product reviews, social media tools and more—can unintentionally function as a conduit for malware and data leakage. Further complicating the scenario is the fact that these services operate outside the retailer’s website infrastructure so IT and marketing have no real-time insight into vendor activity and what the consumer actually experiences in their browser.
The Media Scanner for Retail service enables retailers to manage this growing collection of third-party code, providing real-time visibility and control over all vendor activity, including the domains and cookies rendering in their consumers’ browsers. The service also provides exacting control over website vendor utilization by documenting which department—marketing, legal, IT, etc.—authorized the vendor and its designated services as well as the length of the contracted service.
Over a 30-day period in April, The Media Trust monitored and analyzed every third-party domain and cookie dropped onto the browsers of consumers visiting the National Retailer Foundation’s Top 50 Retailers. Across these 50 sites, the average number of vendors detected was 43, along with an average of 63 domains and 71 cookies per site. In fact, one retailer had as many 296 different domains and 307 cookies rendering in their consumers’ browsers—a huge, unwieldy number to manage and control.
To protect their brand and ensure a safe browsing experience, retailers should always have real-time visibility and control over the domains and cookies rendering on the consumer’s browsers, because hackers launch malware attacks by identifying third-party website vendors with weak security controls and then compromise their servers. With control of these servers, the hackers can target a retailer via this third party vendor and deploy web-based malware to perform a variety of malicious actions—download harmful exploit kids, steal credit card numbers and other personal information, redirect the consumer to a phishing site or leverage the third-party code to deface the retailer’s website.
“With their high-volume traffic and customer data, ecommerce sites are quickly becoming a prime target for hackers, who find retailers’ reliance on third-party code especially appealing, as it is often easy to compromise with little fear of detection,” says Chris Olson, The Media Trust’s CEO and co-founder. “Given the large number of vendors, domains and cookies we detected on these leading retail sites, it’s critical retailers start managing and controlling their third party service providers. Only through this real-time control can they protect their brand and ensure a truly safe shopping experience on a 24/7 basis.”
In addition to preventing web-based malware, Media Scanner for Retail also identifies data leakage, which is the collection of valuable website audience behavior—also known as first-party data—by the various third party domains and cookies rendering in the consumer’s browser. These third parties often resell this data or redirect the site’s audience to competitive sites, without ever notifying or compensating the retailer. Along with lost revenue, having a host of unwanted or unknown trackers on an ecommerce site can negatively impact site performance and violate a retailer’s own IT governance and privacy policies as well as the growing collection of government regulations and mandates.
The Media Trust’s Media Scanner for Retail works by automatically detecting and analyzing all third-party code running on a consumer’s browser and sends an immediate alert on any instance of unknown, suspicious or malicious code so that IT/InfoSec and ecommerce teams can remove and then block it, with this constant detection and alerting enabling retailers to prevent malware attacks and data leakage. If required, it also enforces and maintains HTTPS compliance across all third-party vendors, ensuring every call in the web page execution remains secure.
The Media Trust’s daily monitoring of millions of ecommerce, media and corporate websites and mobile apps as well as 10 million ad tags provides the Company with a panoramic view of the global online and mobile ecosystem. As a result, Media Scanner provides retailers with actionable intelligence and real-time visibility of all external code executing on their consumers’ browsers, which ensures the removal of anomalies before they cause any damage to the consumer and the retailer’s brand.
About The Media Trust
With a physical presence in 500 global cities, The Media Trust’s proprietary website and ad tag scanning technology provides continuous, non-stop protection against malware, site performance issues and data leakage, which can lead to lost revenue and privacy violations. The Company also provides comprehensive quality assurance checks of an ad campaign’s technical and creative components, supporting display, rich-media, video, search and mobile advertising. In addition, The Media Trust’s technology provides publishers with visual ad verification for geographically-targeted campaigns, ensuring thousands of media buys are executed correctly, reducing discrepancies, errors and make-good scenarios in-flight.
More than 500 publishers, ad networks, exchanges, agencies and enterprises—including 40 of com-Score’s AdFocus Top 50 websites—rely on The Media Trust’s suite of continuous, non-stop monitoring, detecting and alerting services to protect their website, their revenue and their brand.