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Study - Advertisers Losing $6.3 Billion to Cyber Fraud in 2015

ZDNet.com reported on 9th December, 2014 stating that a new research report has disclosed that promoters will lose around $6.3 billion in 2015 to bots and cybercrime which impersonate human engagement.

Security vendor White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) conducted the study known as "The Bot Baseline: Fraud in Digital Advertising" which approximates that billions will be lost in 2015 due to employment of bots systems.

Bots are automatic units which impersonate human behavior with an advertisement - whether watching a video or clicking on a URL - which tricks an advertiser into thinking that they have viewers. The cyber crook sets up fake advertisements and websites and uses bots to distribute bogus click-rates and audiences which never exist and the advertiser ends up paying without any benefit.

It is often buyers themselves who are carelessly acting like a slave in a bot net - because systems compromised by malware can be added to a bot sequence which becomes an additional meeting point for generating impressions of fake ad.

Researchers of the study analyzed 181 campaigns from 36 ANA member companies and measured 5.5 billion impressions in 3 million domains during 2 months from August to September.

The research revealed that 23% of video ad impressions were found to be bot fraud and 11% of display ad impressions.

The report observes that botnet activity was highest between midnight and 7 a.m. which means that buyers of ad can reduce illegal traffic by focusing on the period when most of the people may be awake.

Securityweek.com published news on 9th December, 2014 quoting Dan Kaminsky, Chief Scientist and Co-founder of WhiteOps as saying "display ads don't pay as much as video ads and fraudsters follow the money."

Industry group Interactive Advertising Bureau recently set up a special task force known as Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) to fight fraud. Adweek.com published a statement on 9th December, 2014 quoting Linda Woolley, CEO of TAG, as saying "research like this is important to build a program which will eliminate this type of criminal activity out of the supply chain. Fraudulent traffic, malware and IP piracy are impediments to the growth of the digital economy and TAG is dedicated to eliminate them."

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