Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., sent a letter on Friday to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) calling on the department to block internet advertisements on Federal computers to prevent malware infections, citing advice from the National Security Agency (NSA).

In the letter, published by the Washington Post, to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) head Chris Krebs, Wyden expressed his desire to see DHS block online ads on Federal devices, a sentiment that he previously expressed in November 2017 to then-White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce.

Wyden also attached a document from the NSA, published in June, that advises organizations to block unnecessary web advertising content. “Organizations which have already implemented a comprehensive and rapid patching regime can further address malvertising by blocking potentially malicious, internet-based advertisements,” the document advises.

In the letter, Wyden asked Krebs to provide answers to these questions by January 31.

  • “Does DHS agree with assessment that “Cyber adversaries can leverage malicious advertising (malvertising) to install malware?”
  • Does DHS agree with recommendation that organizations address malvertising by blocking potentially malicious, internet-based advertisements?
  • Does DHS currently block internet-based advertisements on its own network?
  • What steps, if any, has DHS taken to recommend that federal agencies block internet-based advertisements?”


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MeriTalk Staff