There’s a whole community dedicated to defrauding internet users and advertisers. Those who commit Click fraud and Clickjacking are intentionally stealing advertising away from honest bidders.
And this is not done because of pennies. Criminals can make millions of dollars with complex technology and malware.
The New York Times reported a $6.2 Billion tag to the amount robbed by shady advertisers through these techniques.
Are Click-fraud and clickjacking the exact same thing? Not really… Let’s look up the differences between them.
What is Click-fraud?
Click-fraud is tricking the system with “fake clicks” over the shown ads, to harm others or to benefit from it. These non-natural clicks can be done manually or scaled with automation (as botnets).
Surprisingly enough, it is estimated than a third (¾) of all Ad traffic comes from botnets.
If truth, this may be a huge hole in the advertiser’s budget.
Who perpetuates click fraud?
- Publishers: Ad publishers may attempt to “game the paid search advertising system. This can be categorized as grey/black hat, affiliate networks with low visibility being common practices.
- Competitors: Because the ad war is fierce, click-fraud tend to be performed by dirty-playing competitors. In this case, the competitor intentionally clicks on the online ad, forcing a non-profitable payment. When it’s done correctly, it is capable of pushing big companies out of the market.
- Customers: They sometimes engage with Ads through similar behaviors. Searches for something in Google and access the site through the Ad every time? Hard to distinguish.
How to Spot Click-fraud Early?
Search engines and affiliate PPC ad networks are the most common places to spot Click fraud. The idea here is to detect it early and avoid being a victim of it.
- Repeated clicks with zero conversions
- High search costs that exceed expectations
- Hard to explain irregular performance data
How to Prevent Click-fraud?
All those signs can be prevented by early detection. Although this may be hard to achieve with an entire manual execution.
What can you do instead?
- Pick industry-specific keywords.
- Apply a negative match.
- Monitor user behavior.
- Adhere to a fixed budget.
- Use tools/services that identify Click-fraud.
Are you a victim of Click fraud right now? Let’s save your business assets right away!
Click Fraud or Invalid Clicks?
There’s a well-known term that’s similar to click-fraud, but it doesn’t represent the same.
Invalid clicks are, in most cases, accidental. Still, they can be costly for advertisers.
This is one of those issues that Advertising Networks analyze deeply. When invalid clicks are detected, they get automatically flagged from a report and filtered, claiming refunds.
Of course… There are times website visitors didn’t want to click on Ad, but it seems as if something forced them to do it.
Has it happened to you? What is that?
Clickjacking: What is it?
This combination from “Click” + “Jacking” (as Hijacking) is the shady act of tricking web users into clicking when or where they didn’t want to.
Successfully executed clickjacking occurs through the use of invisible pages or HTML elements, on top of the places users do tend to click.
This practice won’t harm your site directly, but it can terribly harm your visitors.
The invisible page or HTML element we’re talking about might be a malicious page.
Other times, it’s an unintended action, inside a reputable place.
What could a determined hacker do with a clickjacking attack?
Clickjacking is being used to:
- Steal login credentials (fake login box over the real one).
- Promote online scams or spread worms by tricking people into clicking on things they otherwise would not.
- Spread malware while landing on malicious download links.
- Turning on webcam or microphone, when clicking on an invisible settings page.
All of this looks scary, but it is hard to imagine and see the real harm of Clickjacking… Without a real-life attack example.
Hacker set-up a page that promises an attractive FREE TRIP to Thailand.
Enables in the exact same moment when the victim is checking its online banking site.
The banking form goes to the background, and the “Book FREE Trip” call to action is perfectly aligned with the “Transfer” page.
If the victim clicks over it, it will continue with the sequence of actions needed to accept transferring the money (in the background) while he/she believes is booking its trip to Thailand.
Clickjacking methods like this one have gotten very popular on Social Media (with Facebook Likes and retweets).
Is there any way to prevent Clickjacking? Definitely.
There are many ways to prevent it from… But Content Security Policies and Defensive UI codes are very hard to configure.
Leave that to the experts, and enjoy the peace of mind of having all your assets safe 24/7.