Another Ad Fraud Scheme on Connected TV Sees $14.5 Million Stolen

Another Ad Fraud Scheme on Connected TV Sees $14.5 Million Stolen

People are streaming a lot more television because they stay home during the pandemic. Fraudsters took advantage of this.

A new ad fraud program on connected TVs called StreamScam infected more than 28.8 million household IP addresses and has stolen approximately $ 14.5 million in the past four months, according to a report by Oracle.

“Wherever advertising dollars go, criminals will follow, and fast-growing channels like CTV are opening up new avenues for ad fraud and theft,” said Mark Kopera, Moat product manager at Oracle Data Cloud, in a statement.

The scammers built servers to send fake ad impressions and lured advertisers into buying media that weren’t there. This “spoofing” practice includes forging around 3,600 App IDs and 3,400 CTV IDs, as well as millions of IP addresses, all of which are signals for ad targeting.

The CTV ad market is growing rapidly. According to eMarketer, ad spend on the medium is projected to be $ 8.11 billion by the end of 2020 and $ 11.36 billion by 2021. Total spending is projected to reach $ 18.29 billion by 2024, according to the research firm.

Scammers target CTV because it is a relatively unstandardized market that attracts high-spending advertisers. The cost per thousand impressions (CPM) of a CTV ad is typically in the range of $ 20-25, while CPMs for desktop or mobile ads are significantly lower, usually in the low single digits.

The IAB Tech Lab is trying to get some security protocols into the room. The group introduced technical specifications that enable CTV media owners to list the digital sellers of their media: ads.txt and app-ads.txt.

The specifications, which are already common in the desktop environment, can be publicly commented on until January 14, 2021.

“The Connected TV marketplace can be complex and requires a new approach to ads.txt to increase transparency between buyers and sellers. As Connected TV’s growth continues to skyrocket, standards that support these formats are critical, ”said Amit Shetty, Senior Director of Product at IAB Tech Lab, in a statement.

StreamScam isn’t the first major CTV ad scam program. Earlier this year, an operation called Monarch on Roku devices resulted in seven-figure stolen advertising dollars.

Most programmatic CTV deals are conducted through programmatically guaranteed or private market environments. These give media owners more control over their inventory and advertisers more transparency about what they are buying. Kopera told Adweek that CTV can be spoofed in any programmatic setting.

However, advertisers typically avoid buying CTV ads in the open auction because that is where fraud occurs most of the time.

“To me, connected TV is inherently fraud-free when you buy it the right way, directly from the end-sellers, directly from the premium TV publishers, through trusted pipes. When fraud really gets into the mix, someone is buying in an open auction environment, which we never recommend to our customers, ”Mike Fisher, vice president of advanced television and audio for Essence, previously told Adweek.