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Microsoft Campaigns with Ad Teams to Fight Online Click Fraud

Posted on the 30 November 2012 by Janeandrew01

Microsoft is making effort to curtail the fraud and scams committed online, where advertisers pay software analysts for every useless click. In order to carry out this mission, the Microsoft Malware Protection Center or MMPC has joined hands with the forensics teams, working online. This team is connected with MMPC’s online advertising system, Bing Ads. MMPC software developer, Nikola Livic has explained the fraud, saying that any online fraud with the clicks will be investigated after a malware detected will be correlated against the clicks made on any particular advertising. Microsoft claims that the fraud was increasing manifold in the US advertising industry, which amounts to $32 billion.

Explaining the entire procedure of malware control, Livic said two completely different, but relevant domains; their expertise and tools will be identified and cross checked. These two domains would be malware and advertising will be compared to create systems and processes to prevent and identify the complete chain of elements that are source of click-fraud malware. By following this process, the money generated through each click will be stopped.

Some useful Statistics

According to survey some 60% to 70% of harmful software has been created to inflict some sort of click fraud, said Microsoft. The statistics were originally collected by the NSS Labs, which is a company that researches, analyses and evaluated security systems. Talking about the statistics, Livic said that MMPC discovered three different malicious software groups – trying to make money through click fraud­ – and destroyed them right away.

Click frauds is even taxing on the advertisers sometimes, as the advertising companies had to pay for the clicks that were useless, that is they did not bring in any new customers for the company, neither provided any financial gain. This can be tricky sometimes for the advertisers. At one point they try to gain financially from clicking on advertisings, while on the other they can also lose the business if the fraud rises.

To make their case strong, Microsoft comes up with more statistics to prove that click fraud is rampantly found in the online world and is constantly on the rise. According to the statistics, the online advertising business accounts to $32 billion in 2011. These statistics were gathered from the data of research paper presented at the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication conference.

This paper was the work of two researchers; one of them a Microsoft Researcher and the other from University of Texas at Austin. Both the researchers aimed to discover the rate of click fraud online. The research was carried out by measuring the online users who have clicked on an advertisement to those who were taken to the advertised company’s page after clicking the link. This way they found out the rate with which click frauds was increasing. Precisely they based their research on ten advertising network, including those which run by companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook. It was revealed that none of these companies would mention any specifics abour click fraud on their networks.

But there are some obstacles to identifying the click fraud, said the researchers. They were of the opinion that advertising networks are unaware of negative result of the click and most of the times they fail to determine the fraud in it. Also, sometimes click fraud rate has been overestimated, because the third party companies will never allow their systems to be investigated.

Another statistic comes in to the light in Livic’s report, in which she said that almost 22% of clicks on the advertisements are frauds. She explained that researchers found dubious behavior of clickers online and on mobile. In the past, Facebook and Google have been accused of click fraud being more often experienced on their companies networks. Google reiterated that less than 10% users click on AdWords, making their share of fraud clicks less.


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