Click fraud Bots are a nuisance and, it would seem, both click fraud and Bots make the perfect partners in crime. After all, Bots offer fraudsters an opportunity to commit click fraud on a larger scale and in more comprehensive ways. Noticeably, it’s not just one computer but many which can be affected by Bots. It’s practically a fraudster’s ultimate dream.
Before we look at how Bots can be click fraud’s ultimate weapon, it is wise to actually state what a Bot is. In simple terms, a Bot is a program that can interact on a network and which can perform a number of tasks or functions. For example, you may have come across a chatbot on a website, performing a customer service task; offering solutions and mimicking an actual human through a multitude of pre-defined responses and phrases. This is a good Bot, offering solutions to users and working positively. On one level, it’s really impressive but unsurprisingly Bots can be programmed to performed more malicious and fraudulent tasks.
In simple terms, Bots are a common and ever-present feature of the internet. Last year it was calculated that Bots accounted for roughly half of all internet traffic. Unsurprisingly, this traffic included the more malicious varieties of Bot and that is concerning for businesses advertising online.
When it comes to click fraud, Bots are the perfect accomplice for fraudsters. Not only can they interact with one computer or network, but many at the same time and this means fraudulent activity can occur on a grand scale. Take the example of ‘HyphBot’. This program of Bots was created by a group of fraudsters to manipulate viewing figures for video ads in the United States. The program of Bots infected 100,000s of computers, sending advertising traffic to bogus websites which in turn provided revenue for fraudsters instead of the original publishers. It was a complex operation but it demonstrated that Bots could wreak havoc through clandestine programs.
The example of ‘HyphBot’ illustrates that click fraud Bots can be a complex and malicious entity. What is more concerning is that click fraud Bots are becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the internet. They can be detected and prevented but advertisers and publishers have to be cautious and ever-ready to detect them. Unfortunately, platform providers such as Google and BING are not always well-placed to provide the right protection against fraudulent Bots. However, there are options for businesses and it can be found with third party providers such as Click Guardian. Suspicious activity can be identified quickly by pinpointing activity which appears fraudulent. Programs such as ‘HyphBot’ would be identified due to the excessive clicks which would be generated by such a program. In essence, click fraud Bots would be prevented from inflating costs and losing businesses revenue. In today’s digital orientated world, that sounds like the ideal for any advertiser.