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Twitter Buys Startup Dasient to Fight Malicious Advertising

  |  January 24, 2012   |  Comments

Tech could help spot malicious ads submitted through Twitter's nascent self-serve ad tool before they go live.

Twitter has acquired security startup Dasient, which describes itself as an anti-malware vendor for large enterprises in the financial services, media, and online sectors. Its technology will be housed within Twitter's revenue engineering team, which suggests its primary purpose will be to identify malicious ads submitted through the company's nascent self-serve ad platform before they go live.

In 2010, the company released a service that scanned for malicious ads - for instance the kind that forced downloads on unsuspecting users. The buyers of these ads often present themselves to publishers and ad networks as agency media buyers representing major brands. When the phony ads go live, bad guys can reach millions of victims at once on websites they ordinarily should trust.

"Over the last year, we have been very active in securing the ads and content of the some of the industry’s largest ad networks and web sites," the company said in a blog post yesterday. "By joining Twitter, Dasient will be able to apply its technology and team to the world's largest real-time information network."

In addition to malicious advertisements, another possible target of Dasient's attention are the legions of phishing attacks that routinely target users with direct messages (DMs) and @mentions. Common refrains are "Have you seen this pic someone posted of you?" and "Did you do this quiz thingy?"

Dasient has stopped accepting new customers and will shut down its business, the blog post added. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

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