Published on October 27, 2018
1. 10 TERRIFYING AD FRAUD ATTACKS THAT WILL KILL YOUR CAMPAIGNS
2. Staying alive and competitive in the “cut-throat” digital advertising landscape is often a lot like navigating a haunted graveyard. Threats lurking in the shadows will ambush your digital advertising campaigns at every turn. You are constantly vulnerable to sudden, unwanted surprises if you let your guard down for even a moment. And you can clearly see the results of those who came before you – and well, didn’t quite make it out alive. You don’t want to end up like them, so you need to invest in the right tools and equipment that will keep your campaigns safe and protected from threats (and things that go bump in the night). Read ahead to get a sneak peak at some of their malicious tactics aimed at murdering your digital advertising campaigns for money, mischief or competitive advantage. THINK GHOSTS, GHOULS AND ZOMBIES ARE SCARY? Try Competitors, Fraudsters, And Cyber Attackers. (Oh My!) 10 Terrifying Fraud Attacks That Will Kill Your Campaign © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved don’t get too comfortable. Just because you’re not paranoid Doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
3. 1. ATTACK OF THE BOTS Like an army of robots, cybercriminals and fraudsters leverage botnets – armies of compromised computers or infected cloud servers – to overpower victims on a massive scale for their own personal gain. Both powerful and strategic, this army employs any number of attacks designed to illegitimately boost revenue targets, CPC or audiences – with tactics like impersonating sites and fabricating inventory. With any number of critical components of the ad delivery chain compromised, advertisers are guaranteed to lose their customer base – and subsequently revenues – to this dark army. 10 Terrifying Fraud Attacks That Will Kill Your Campaign © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved The Solution: Investing in a tool with botnet protection will go a long way to keep this army at bay.
4. 2. SPOO-OOKY GHOST SITES Haunted mansions might seem abandoned and deserted, until you look around and start noticing all the spooks that seem to suddenly appear out of thin air. The same applies to ghost advertising sites, where fraudsters build fake websites designed to hosts programmatic ad platforms. When ads are posted on these ghastly sites, malware executes click fraud, fake audiences or impressions, and other nefarious activities, all of which give the fraudsters a nice payday based on the cost per click (CPC). Needless to say, this funnels revenue and conversions away from legitimate advertisers, who see their profits slowly dying at these haunted sites. 10 Terrifying Fraud Attacks That Will Kill Your Campaign © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved The Solution: A tool with anti-spoofing technology will detect when there’s a haunted image in your likeness.
5. 3. ARMIES OF FAKE USERS Walk around a graveyard at night, and you’ll soon discover that you’re not alone. Similarly, you don’t have to look too far amid your digital ad campaigns to realize that users are more common than you might think – they just might not be, well, alive. With a combination of bots, malware, click or app install farms, fraudsters regularly leverage mobile apps to imitate human activity with the goal of building large audiences of fake users that build upon the established advertising ecosystem. During this ploy, legitimate advertisers are tricked into believing that an enormous number of real users clicked their ads. In reality, however, their ads never reach actual audiences, resulting in faulty and unreliable consumer data that might mean missing their revenue targets. 10 Terrifying Fraud Attacks That Will Kill Your Campaign © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved The Solution: Investing in a trusted third-party platform containing ad verification technology, will prevent fake users that will lower engagement and brand conversions.
6. 4. HIJACKERS ATTACK ADS Few things are more terrifying than being taken hostage. In the case of hijacked attacks, malicious actors can appear when you least expect them, even on your digital advertising campaigns. During these attacks, malware hijacks the ad slot on a website. While the ad is clearly displayed, malicious code diverts revenues to the attacker, not the publisher, via a user’s compromised computer, a publisher’s compromised website or a compromised user’s proxy server or router. For advertiser victims, this attack represents a significant loss of revenue – and one that likely they won’t be able to retrieve any time soon. 10 Terrifying Fraud Attacks That Will Kill Your Campaign © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved The Solution: Employing a third-party platform with ad monitoring and fraud prevention technologies.
7. 5. THERE’S A GHOST IN THE ADS Now you see it...now you don’t. While impressions are still able to be seen, this type of attack makes any ad invisible on the website -- and makes you feel like you’re losing your sanity in the process. Advertisers, of course, lose out on clicks and revenue impacting their profitability and bottom line. So you better look fast to make sure it’s there, before it vanishes like a ghost into thin air. 10 Terrifying Fraud Attacks That Will Kill Your Campaign © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved The Solution: A third-party platform with analytics capabilities can show actual ad impressions and weed out fraudulent ads that drain revenue and ad spend.
8. 6. HIJACKERS STEAL CLICKS When it comes to ad fraud, hijackers notoriously apply their same sneaky tactics to all aspects of digital advertising. As with hijacked ads, the attacker redirects the user to another website by taking over a user’s computer or publisher’s website in order to steal their click – and potential advertising customer. For digital advertisers, this represents a major loss of revenue that is almost sure to skew their data and cause them to fall short of their advertising goals. 10 Terrifying Fraud Attacks That Will Kill Your Campaign © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved The Solution: A tool complete with automated click-fraud prevention will ensure that every click is true blue.
9. 7. THE INVISIBLE IMPRESSION THIEF For digital advertisers, few things are worse than a ghostly spook absconding with your impressions, and ultimately, your clicks. In an impression laundering/ stealing attack, the unassuming advertiser carefully selects a publisher aligning with their brand and message. From there, they buy an ad, only to have part of the ad impressions served on a fraudulent website where neither the audience nor the content aligns with the advertiser’s interests or brand. Yet through a series of clever redirects and malicious iframes, the advertiser only sees the legitimate site, instead of the fraudulent site that is actually displaying the ad. If loss of brand for the advertisers wasn’t enough, seeing a site that doesn’t exist will only add to the abject fear and paranoia. 10 Terrifying Fraud Attacks That Will Kill Your Campaign © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved The Solution: In addition to adopting an anti-fraud solution, investing in a tool that accurately analyzes clicks, conversion and retention rates, for an accurate picture of ROI.
10. 8. MASKED URLS From Freddy Kruger to scary clowns, masked villains are especially terrifying – because you never know what they’re going to do next or what new surprises are in store. As its name suggests, this attack masks a website’s actual URL address in the bidstream, hiding the website on which it will appear. Needless to say, that makes it a lot more challenging for advertisers to see what they’re actually getting when they place their ad dollars. Cyber villains have no qualms about misrepresenting their site as being more legitimate, audience-specific or credible than it actually is (and it might very well be none of those things) – and then, of course, overcharging CPC rates to gouge unsuspecting advertisers. In fact, often this technique is aimed at tricking advertisers into running ads on sites with stolen, or otherwise unsavory content – or rather, sites aren’t exactly a magnet for premium advertising. Advertisers need to do their homework, or risk damage to brand and bleeding their advertising spend with very little ROI. 10 Terrifying Fraud Attacks That Will Kill Your Campaign © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved The Solution: Investing in a platform with ad security or anti-fraud technology, with dedicated features designed to uncover hidden URLs.
11. 9. GHOSTLY ATTRIBUTION MANIPULATION Who moved that glass? Where is that music coming from? That book wasn’t here just a minute ago. Like a poltergeist that moves household items around behind your back, making you feel like you’re either crazy or seeing things, attribution manipulation malware mysteriously sends clicks, and in-app events for installs that never actually took place. These invisible attackers also game attribution models and falsely take credit for user in-app engagement. And they have one main purpose -- to falsely create clicks on CPC-based ads, which they execute either by click injection or click spamming. The advertisers, however, are left scratching their heads wondering where all these clicks came from – and how they’re going to explain their quarterly metrics. 10 Terrifying Fraud Attacks That Will Kill Your Campaign © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved The Solution: Look to a rule-based mobile fraud prevention technology to ensure that you’re firmly in control of all attribution data.
12. 10. SDK GETS SPOOFED Heh heh, the joke’s on you! In this attack, fraudsters add code in one (attack) app, which then sends simulated clicks, fake install and conversion signals on behalf of the advertiser’s – or victim’s – app. By faking conversions, tricksters laugh all the way to the bank, (and they’re the only ones laughing, trust us) while duping advertisers into potentially paying for hundreds of thousands of installs that didn’t actually take place. Advertisers will not be laughing, however, when it comes time to report bottom-line profits. 10 Terrifying Fraud Attacks That Will Kill Your Campaign © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved The Solution: An anti-fraud tool that blocks SDK spoofing bots will help ensure you’re dealing only with actual clicks and conversions.
13. Once upon a time, ad fraud was frequently downplayed and overlooked as a business inconvenience. Now, ad fraud is rampant and at an all-time high. According to a Juniper Research Report sourced to SE Journal, the advertising industry is losing $51 million per day due to ad fraud, projected to total upwards of $19 billion in wasted ad spend by the end of this year. That is a lot. Although attackers are constantly sharpening their knives, evolving and refining their tactics in search of their next victim, there are ways you can reduce the chance that you’ll fall prey to their malicious ad fraud schemes. In addition to providing superior bid-management, granular customer data insights and analysis, and customized campaign management, QuanticMind provides a platform well-equipped with anti-fraud and security technologies, providing an additional layer of security and protection so ROI remains intact and your campaigns remain as lucrative and profitable as possible. Because we don’t want the bad guys to win either. So who yA GONNA call? © QuanticMind Inc., All rights reserved www.quanticmind.com (ADVERTISING) FRAUD-BUSTERS