Ad fraud trends: Which browser has the most bots?

07/09/2016

Microsoft's browser has the highest levels of ad fraud, followed by Google's, according to a new study.

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The research, from FraudLogix, indicates that half of Internet Explorer's impressions were from bots, compared to 20.5% of non-human impressions on Google's Chrome.

Key findings:

Internet Explorer. About 50% of impressions served were deemed to be “nonhuman.” Internet Explorer made up 16.2% of overall traffic analyzed.


Google Chrome.
About 20.5% of impressions served were via “nonhuman” traffic. Chrome made up 61% of overall traffic in the study.

Others. Fewer than 5% of impressions served to Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari, and Microsoft Edge, the company’s newer browser, were deemed fraudulent.

To examine the role of browsers in this process, FraudLogix examined a sample of 135 million individual online ad impressions over a seven-day period in July, and analyzed the browsers to which the ads were served.

The company also tracked the portion of those ads its technology deemed as delivered to “non-human” or “bot” traffic.

The browsers in which the most fraudulent impressions loaded were versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser and Google’s Chrome browser, the study found.

Some 50% of impressions served to Internet Explorer over the course of the study were to “non-human” traffic, FraudLogix said, compared with 20.5% of impressions served to Google’s Chrome browser.

Microsoft and Google each questioned FraudLogix’s methodology, saying it isn’t possible to accurately measure fraud at the browser level.

“Bots and malware often forge user agent strings to produce “fake” traffic, which can’t be attributed to a particular browser,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Google said in a statement, “When malware infects someone’s device or web browser in general, the infected machine may act as a fraudulent bot impersonating any browser, even if it isn’t installed on the infected machine. As a result, we’ve found that measuring ad fraud per browser has not been a helpful way of understanding this issue.”

FraudLogix Chief Executive Hagai Shechter acknowledged that infected computers may impersonate browsers, but said the company does not believe that happened in most instances it tracked during its study.

Instances of fraud are potentially higher for Chrome and Internet Explorer because of their widespread adoption, Mr. Shechter added. Other browsers might be more vulnerable, but they make less attractive targets because they have fewer users.

16.2% of the overall traffic FraudLogix examined was from Internet Explorer, compared with 61% from Chrome.

Source: Fraud Logix

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