Ad Fraudsters Are Becoming More Sophisticated

  • A few weeks ago, the FBI announced that it worked with several companies in the ad industry to dismantle a massive ad fraud operation.
  • The fraudsters infected at least 1.7 million people’s computers. The scope of the operation gives some indication as to how problematic fraud has become in the ad industry.
  • Aside from deploying bots, the fraudsters used other tactics such as tag evasion.
  • The multilayered approach the fraudsters took shows that their scheme was sophisticated, highlighting the cat-and-mouse problem of policing ad fraud.

Working alongside tech firms such as Google and White Ops, the US Department of Justice recently took down an ad fraud operation and arrested a few people. While the crackdown may signal that law enforcement agencies are finally taking ad fraud more seriously, it’s worth noting that this is just a single bust. The amount of ad fraud in the marketplace is still massive.

Fraudsters often capitalize on changing media consumption patterns. According to Adjust, mobile ad fraud rates have soared as people spend more time on their phones. AppsFlyer analyzed 17 billion app installs across 7,000 apps worldwide over the past 12 months and found that the amount of install fraud in the US keeps increasing.

Tamer Hassan, co-founder and CTO of White Ops, spoke to eMarketer about the evolving tactics used by ad fraudsters to siphon money.

Regarding this recent ad fraud takedown, what tactics stood out to you?
They were basically hijacking IP addresses at corporations and redirecting them to their own servers.

Is that a common tactic?...

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