Digital Advertising

DoubleVerify unmasks CTV Ad Fraud Scheme, CycloneBot

DV Fraud Lab curtails a scheme costing unprotected advertisers up to $7.5 million monthly

DoubleVerify (“DV”) (NYSE: DV), the industry’s leading media effectiveness platform that leverages AI to drive superior outcomes for global brands, today revealed the identification and mitigation of CycloneBot, one of the most extensive CTV ad fraud schemes ever uncovered. The malicious bot is capable of generating up to 250 million falsified ad requests and spoofing approximately 1.5 million devices daily, leading to an estimated monthly financial impact of up to $7.5 million across unprotected advertisers.

CycloneBot employs new and enhanced evasion techniques to produce falsified CTV traffic across various platforms. One tactic involves spoofing longer CTV sessions for each device, which resembles the activity of real CTV users. This helps CycloneBot blend in with legitimate CTV traffic. The devices CycloneBot spoofs generate four times more traffic, on average, when compared to previous falsification schemes in CTV.

“CycloneBot represents a new level of sophistication in ad fraud. Its ability to mimic human behavior and evade detection has posed unprecedented challenges,” said Mark Zagorski, Chief Executive Officer at DoubleVerify. “Our Fraud Lab, in collaboration with Roku, has been instrumental in identifying, analyzing, and mitigating this complex threat.”

DV’s strong partnership with Roku (NASDAQ: ROKU) played a pivotal role in mitigating CycloneBot’s activity. In the early stages of the investigation, DV’s Fraud Lab joined forces with Roku to leverage additional signals facilitated by Roku’s Advertising Watermark. The use of Roku’s Advertising Watermark allowed for the validation and confirmation of the spoofing activities by CycloneBot. The joint efforts highlighted the scheme’s connections to previous fraud activities and underscored the ongoing necessity for comprehensive protection against increasingly sophisticated invalid traffic (IVT). Roku confirmed it was not impacted by the CycloneBot scheme and no resulting fraudulent ad impressions were sold or purchased from Roku.

“Roku’s Advertising Watermark is proving to be essential in the fight against ad fraud,” said Louqman Parampath, Vice President, Product Management, Advertising at Roku. “It ensures transparency and validation, safeguarding advertisers while enhancing the TV streaming experience. With DoubleVerify, we’re powering a more transparent and fraud-free advertising landscape.”

Revealing the CycloneBot fraud scheme is a testament to DoubleVerify and Roku’s partnership in collaborating and conducting investigations into emerging ad fraud schemes within the CTV industry. Their combined efforts, merging DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab with Roku’s Advertising Watermark technology, have proven instrumental in identifying and mitigating complex fraud schemes. Revealing CycloneBot underscores the partnership’s value in securing the CTV advertising ecosystem and ensuring advertiser confidence.

DV’s Fraud Lab, powered by a dedicated team of experts, employs AI, machine learning, and manual review processes to identify and prevent new forms of fraud in real-time. The Fraud Lab continues to monitor emerging invalid traffic (IVT) trends and fraud types to ensure complete protection for clients in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

“As fraudsters adapt and refine their methods, so do our efforts to counter them,” said Roy Rosenfeld, Head of DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab. “The discovery and mitigation of CycloneBot demonstrate our unwavering commitment to making the digital advertising ecosystem stronger, safer, and more secure.”

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