Defense Department blocks ads to counter malvertising, official tells Congress

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Dec 13, 2021 | CYBERSCOOP

The Defense Department employs multiple methods of blocking internet advertisements because of the threats that malicious ads pose, the Pentagon said in a letter Monday.

The department’s answer to a summer inquiry from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., follows similar responses from the intelligence community in which agencies said they rely on ad-blockers as a security measure. In January, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency also urged federal agencies to block ads because of the potential for malicious activity.

“Yes, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has deployed various technologies to protect against online-advertising related malware and data collection threats,” wrote Kelly Fletcher, who’s currently serving in the role of DOD’s chief information officer. “Web content filter and Sharkseer tools block bad traffic that traverses our internet access points and Cloud Based Internet Isolation (CBII) also isolates all traffic, including ads.”

While the letter didn’t specify when DOD began blocking ads, the department rearranged funding in 2019 for DISA to take over the Sharkseer program from the National Security Agency. Sharkseer scans incoming traffic for threats via artificial intelligence. DOD is still migrating users to CBII, which

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