The California-based search engine giant, Google, has been working on a cleanup since last week, removing from its network various applications involved in an advertising fraud scheme.
A botnet called “TechSnab” was used as a fraud tactic to generate web traffic by creating hidden browser windows in web pages to increase advertising revenue. This botnet has generated traffic to a set of websites created specifically for this operation and monetized with Google and many third-party ad exchanges. The malware used common protections for masking, data darkening, and IP scanning.
Google has identified, analyzed and blocked the invalid traffic associated with this operation by deleting and blacklisting such websites and applications. In addition, they also blacklisted additional apps and websites outside of their ad network so that advertisers use Display; The 360 video no longer spends for such traffic.
“While our analysis of the transaction is underway, we estimate that the monetary value of Google’s advertisers’ expenses involved in the apps and websites involved in the operation will rise to less than 10.” millions of dollars”, said Google via a blog.
Based on the analysis of historical ads.txt analysis data done by Google, the inventory of these websites was widely available throughout the ecosystem of the publicity. It was possible that 150 exchanges, vendor-side platforms or networks sold this inventory.
The botnet operators had hundreds of accounts on 88 different exchanges (based on the accounts listed with the status “DIRECT” in their ads.txt files).
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