- Digital security firm Are You a Human has found bots for sale in traffic previously verified as actual website visitors.
- The sophisticated bots trigger mouse movement, a common signal the “viewer” is actually a person.
- Even though the mouse movement is rudimentary – such as simply describing a circle – it’s enough to pass verification tests.
Ad fraud bot creators have raised the ante with sophisticated bots that trigger mouse movement to get verified by bot detection. Digital security firm Are You a Human uncovered three types of mouse movement bots: cardinal bot that moves in the four cardinal directions, circle bot and pentagram bot.
These bots were found for sale in traffic that had previously been verified as legitimate web visitors.
Reid Tatoris, COO and co-founder of Are You a Human, told Ad Exchanger, “The bots we saw through ad units were both on the open exchange and through direct DSP relationships.”
Even though the bots’ movement didn’t replicate actual human mouse movement, White Ops CEO Michael Tiffany said the creator’s goal would be to fool the verifiers for a time and make as much money as possible in that window with the idea the fraud would be detected built into the entire effort.
Tiffany said, “Fraud is a multi-billion-dollar industry not because bots are being written by breakthrough AI engineers – smart operators are continuously infecting new machines. The essence of the game is to make enough money between when they freshly infect a new computer and when they ultimately do get caught.”
White Ops estimates that advertisers will lose more than $6 billion to fake impressions from bots this year, and that amount will only go up next year.