Ads and Fraud: A Comprehensive Survey of Fraud in Online Advertising
Journal of Cybersecurity and Privacy
Over the last two decades, we have witnessed a fundamental transformation of the advertising industry, which has been steadily moving away from the traditional advertising mediums, such as television or direct marketing, towards digital-centric and internet-based platforms. Unfortunately, due to its large-scale adoption and significant revenue potential, digital advertising has become a very attractive and frequent target for numerous cybercriminal groups. The goal of this study is to provide a
... consolidated view of different categories of threats in the online advertising ecosystems. We begin by introducing the main elements of an online ad platform and its different architecture and revenue models. We then review different categories of ad fraud and present a taxonomy of known attacks on an online advertising system. Finally, we provide a comprehensive overview of methods and techniques for the detection and prevention of fraudulent practices within those system—both from the scientific as well as the industry perspective. The main novelty of our work lies in the development of an innovative taxonomy of different types of digital advertising fraud based on their actual executors and victims. We have placed different advertising fraud scenarios into real-world context and provided illustrative examples thereby offering an important practical perspective that is very much missing in the current literature.