On the 28th of June, IAB Brasil — Interactive Advertising Bureau, an association focused on the development of the interactive media market in Brazil — held an event to present a new edition of the guide “Best Practices in Combating Fraud” for the Brazilian digital advertising market, as well as an educational video about transparency in this industry. The event was part of a series of actions promoted by the IAB, which aims to make advertisers aware of the responsibility of require transparency regarding the investments made in digital advertising.
Tempest Security Intelligence is among the members of the IAB Brasil Anti-Fraud Committee, along with Globo.com, Google and ComScore, and participated actively in the preparation of the material released during the event.
Losses from frauds in digital ads exceeded US $ 7bn in 2016 in the US alone
Although the digital advertising industry is experiencing a moment of expansion — an investment growth of around 15% in Brazil and 8.5% in the United Kingdom is expected for 2017 — it faces great challenges in regards to fraud.
In an interview with The Guardian in 2016, Keith Weed — CMO of Unilever — has defined fraud in digital ads as a “time bomb” that could undermine consumer confidence in the advertising industry. At the time of the interview it was estimated that more than 50% of legitimate advertising campaigns would never be seen by humans, but by robots controlled by fraudsters.
The use of botnets in fraud in the digital advertising market has been detailed in July of the same year; that month, security company Check Point published a report describing the structure behind the malware HummingBad, a malicious program that affects Android devices and was built by the Chinese company Yingmob Interaction with the goal of transforming infected devices into a network of used robots in fraudulent advertising campaigns — each campaign has raised up to $ 300,000 a month for the company (we describe this fraud in detail in this article).
By the end of 2016, a report by the National Association of Advertisers (ANA) computed a $ 7.2 billion loss in digital ad scams caused by botnets in the United States in 2016 — a figure equivalent to approximately 1/3 of the domestic market for digital advertising.
Invalid traffic generated by botnets is only one of the causes of losses in the industry, which also suffers from malicious techniques such as AdStacking — with multiple ads overlapping so that only the top is visible — and Pixel Stuffing , which consists of entering thousands of ads on a single page in the illegible 1 X 1 pixel format.
About IAB and the Anti-Fraud Committee
The Interactive Advertising Bureau is the most important network of associations in the world and has representation in more than 43 countries, including USA, Australia, Singapore, Spain, France, UK, Italy, Chile and Mexico.
The activities of the IAB Fraud Combat Committee for the year 2017 were set out in the first quarter and carried the theme of transparency — be it between vehicles, technology platforms, agencies and advertisers and so on. Following the activity definitions, Tempest was highlighted to carry out the technical review of the first edition of the “Best Practices in the Fight Against Fraud” guide, launched in 2016 and, at the time, proposed the creation of an educational video addressing transparency in the digital media industry, subsequently participating in the elaboration of his script and production.
The video and the new edition of the guide were launched at a breakfast event held at the auditorium of Disney Brazil — also a participant of the Committee — where Rafael Araújo, product manager of AllowMe for Ad Fraud, along with Páris Piedade, director of technology platform at Globo and president of the Committee to Combat Fraud, lectured on Cyber Crimes and Fraud in the Digital Media Industry.