IT’S TIME TO KEEP AND EYE ON MOBILE FRAUD

By Collective July 30, 2015

Ad fraud is getting a lot of buzz these days—for good reason. The potential threat represents about $6.3 billion in various formats for this year alone.  And mobile fraud isn’t even part of this equation(1).

The newest approach to fraud is “mobile device hijacking.” We’re familiar with how bots take over our personal computers, but today, fraudsters find their way into our mobile devices via applications, among other tactics.

The concern over mobile ad fraud has been building for some time. With the proliferation of ad fraud on desktop display and video, it was only a matter of time before fraudsters jumped to mobile — they follow dollars.

According to research conducted by ad fraud detection firm Forensiq, “about 1% of mobile devices in the U.S. were seen running ‘infected’ apps, including those operating Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems, as well as Microsoft’s Windows Mobile”(2). The research showed “that more than 13% of total mobile app inventory was at risk”(3).

Unlike desktop, where users unknowingly download malware, “mobile app fraud comes from apps that users download willingly”(4). There are many parties to blame depending on the type of mobile fraud, but in the case of mobile device hijacking, the app publishers themselves seem to be the culprits(5).

So what does this all mean? In the grand scheme of things, we’re still in the nascent stages. But with the fast paced rise of mobile ad budgets, estimated to be 49% of digital ad spend in 2015 and 72% of total digital ad spend by 2019(6), there’s a call for cautious monitoring.

With mobile, there are two environments up for grabs — mobile web and in-app. While the need for monitoring is there, mobile fraud requires new and different detection and protection methodologies. What works for desktop won’t work for mobile(7). The industry is working on it but we’re not there yet.

Collective will continue to work closely with Integral Ad Science and other partners to stay on top of evolving solutions that conquer mobile fraud.

Some Good Reads:

Wall Street Journal
Ad Exchanger
Fortune
Business Insider

Sources:

  1. App Fraud Starts To Hit Its Stride, Ad Exchanger, July 23, 2015
  2. Watch In-App Mobile Ad Fraud In Action, The Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2015
  3. Mobile botnets are costing advertisers $1 billion in ad fraud, Fortune, July 23, 2015
  4. Mobile botnets are costing advertisers $1 billion in ad fraud, Fortune, July 23, 2015
  5. App Fraud Starts To Hit Its Stride, Ad Exchanger, July 23, 2015
  6. Mobile Will Account for 72% of US Digital Ad Spend by 2019, eMarketer, March 24, 2015
  7. Integral Ad Science Chief Data Officer Breaks Down Big Data and Threat of Fraud on Mobile, OpenX Blog, April 23, 2014