Connected TV botnet attack identified
November 16, 2018
By Colin Mann
Digital media measurement software and analytics specialist DoubleVerify (DV) has identified a new bot network specifically targeting Connected TV (CTV) devices. DV uncovered the botnet after the company saw a 40 per cent spike in traffic from CTV devices, marking the first direct, scaled botnet attack that DV has flagged in the CTV environment. The fraud scheme was identified by the DV Fraud Lab which, through a combination of machine algorithms and manual processes, continuously analyses trends in fraud across devices.
To generate fraudulent impressions, the botnet spoofed real publisher URLs, sending false signals that tell the ad server that the impressions came from a CTV device. DV also reviewed the types of OTT devices where this fraud was perpetrated, and discovered that approximately one-third of impressions were made to look as though they originated from gaming consoles, with the remaining two-thirds from smart TVs.
“The discovery is not surprising, given that fraud tends to follow the money,” commented Wayne Gattinella, CEO of DoubleVerify. “With current data showing that approximately 50 per cent of all Internet users access an online video subscription service or network TV app at least once a week, CTV ad volumes and the opportunity for CTV ad fraud have grown in line with user adoption.”
Once DV identified the fraud scheme, the company immediately took action to protect its global brand customers from potential fraud – extending quality coverage throughout the media transaction (pre- and post-bid). This type of fraud is something DV has previously detected and protected against in desktop and mobile app environments, and now is able to address within the high-growth CTV channel.
“We are continuously executing independent checks of both environment cues and hardware to verify the authenticity of signals and identify discrepancies that point to falsification,” said Roy Rosenfeld, Head of DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab. “DV will continue to stay at the forefront of fraud identification, giving advertisers clarity and confidence in their digital investment.”