Late Post

Click fraud levels reach new heights in pandemic

Shifting user priorities in the past 12 months have seen cyber criminals double down on efforts to cheat businesses out of millions of pounds via click fraud, with smaller businesses losing an average of £10,000 a year and enterprises up to £525,000, according to a report.

Click fraud or pay-per-click fraud is defined as the practice of fraudulently clicking on display advertisements to give the false impression that huge numbers of potential customers are clicking through an advertisers’ links. This is usually done using automated bots.

According to statistics gathered by fraud protection platform PPC Connect, which analysed more than a billion ad clicks to compile its annual Global PPC Click Fraud Report, 11% of all search clicks are fraudulent, rising to 17% on connected TV campaigns and 36% on display advertising campaigns.

The firm said this reflected, to some extent, the closure of bricks-and-mortar retail stores for a substantial part of 2020, which caused a pivot to online advertising as companies tried to retain as much of their business as possible. Naturally, cyber criminals also pivoted to follow this activity.

It said the low-risk nature of bot-driven click fraud campaigns was proving highly attractive, with cyber criminal gangs