Integral Ad Science warns of growing 404bot threat

IAS Threat Lab calls for industry to update Ads.txt files to stop growing bot scheme responsible for millions of dollars in ad fraud

115357
115357

Integral Ad Science (IAS), the digital ad verification outfit, has issued a warning to the ad industry about a large-scale ad fraud scheme which produces fake browser data and fabricated URLs in order to steal advertisers’ media spend.

IAS estimates the 404bot scheme has cost the industry upwards of US$15 million dollars and has affected over 1.5 billion video ads. According to its conservative estimates, during a recent period of high activity, between April and September 2019, the fraud scheme affected over 600 million ads.

“The 404bot has been active since 2018 and its unchecked growth now warrants industry action,” said head of IAS Threat Lab, Evgeny Shmelkov. 

Earlier this year, IAS Threat Lab uncovered a large-scale ad fraud scheme in which a network of infected devices was being used to generate billions of ad calls to fake URLs - a practice known as domain spoofing - and inspired the fraud scheme’s name, 404bot. 

The domain spoofing operation was widespread several years ago and to combat the ad fraud, IAB Technology Lab started the ‘authorised digital sellers' initiative, known as Ads.txt, which allows an adtech player to publicly declare other companies that are authorised to sell its digital inventory. 

According to IAS, Ads.txt has had widespread adoption; however, domain spoofing continues to plague the online ad space and it claims some publishers don’t use Ads.txt properly or fail to properly vet the partners on the Ads.txt list.

The IAS Threat Lab continually monitors for bot activity and noticed a rise in domain spoofing, believed to be generated by a single botnet. After a sustained period of monitoring, IAS felt the 404bot had been active for too long, with no clear signs of it being shut down, and required a warning to operators in the ad-tech ecosystem to clean up their inventories.

“Publishers have done an excellent job in implementing Ads.txt, but what we are learning from this bot is that it is crucial to continuously audit and update Ads.txt files.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.


Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Launch Marketing Council Episode 3: Launching in the technology sector

Our multi-part video series, Ready to Launch, is focused on unlocking the secrets of launching brands, products and services by exploring real-life examples from Australia’s marketing elite. The series is being produced as part of the Launch Marketing Council initiative by CMO in conjunction with independent agency, Five by Five Global.

More Videos

NetSuite started out as a cloud-based provider of Enterprise Resource Planning software or as NetSuite solution provider, which companies...

talalyousaf

NetSuite to acquire Bronto's digital marketing platform for US$200m

Read more

Thanks for sharing this post, its really good information I get through this blog.CDPO Online Exam Training

Infosectrain01

3 ways Booking.com is improving its B2B marketing game

Read more

Time is of the essence, especially for customer service teams. With chatbots, you can interact and assist customers at a larger scale, al...

Jai

Triple-digit customer database growth, personalised engagement become reality for Stone & Wood

Read more

Hey Emilie - great read, and I particularly liked the section on the pressure of having brand purpose/Gen Z spending habits. It's great t...

Chris Thomas

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Extremely informative. One should definitely go through the blog in order to know different aspects of the Retail Business and retail Tec...

Sheetal Kamble

SAP retail chief: Why more retailers need to harness data differently

Read more

Blog Posts

How the CMO can get the board on the customer’s side

For some CMOs, it’s easy to feel alone in the undying quest to better serve the customer. At times, it feels like the marketing department and the boards are speaking a different language, with one side trying to serve the customer, and the other side more focused on the shareholders and financials.

Jeff Cooper

CMO and board, Business Excellence Australia

The Secret Ingredients of a CX-Led Company Culture

When I talk to organisations around the world about their customer experience strategy, it is often the CMOs and their marketing teams who take the lead. They’re keen to improve the ways they attract and engage customers, and they want to understand the technologies that can help them make their customer experience truly outstanding.

Steven van Belleghem

Author, CX expert

The Future Of Social Is Joyful, Pass It On

2019 was a horror year for social media. But in 2020 something different emerged that has shifted the tone, format and intent of the medium. A new social vibe born out of the pandemic and fuelled by the emergence of a platform tailor made for the next generation of consumers.

Dan Young

Managing director, Pulse

Sign in