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Article

Click Fraud in Digital Advertising: A Comprehensive Survey

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, York University, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Wenbing Zhao
Computers 2021, 10(12), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10120164
Received: 28 October 2021 / Revised: 24 November 2021 / Accepted: 29 November 2021 / Published: 1 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Paper in Computers)
Recent research has revealed an alarming prevalence of click fraud in online advertising systems. In this article, we present a comprehensive study on the usage and impact of bots in performing click fraud in the realm of digital advertising. Specifically, we first provide an in-depth investigation of different known categories of Web-bots along with their malicious activities and associated threats. We then ask a series of questions to distinguish between the important behavioral characteristics of bots versus humans in conducting click fraud within modern-day ad platforms. Subsequently, we provide an overview of the current detection and threat mitigation strategies pertaining to click fraud as discussed in the literature, and we categorize the surveyed techniques based on which specific actors within a digital advertising system are most likely to deploy them. We also offer insights into some of the best-known real-world click bots and their respective ad fraud campaigns observed to date. According to our knowledge, this paper is the most comprehensive research study of its kind, as it examines the problem of click fraud both from a theoretical as well as practical perspective. View Full-Text
Keywords: digital advertising fraud; Web-bots; click bot digital advertising fraud; Web-bots; click bot
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sadeghpour, S.; Vlajic, N. Click Fraud in Digital Advertising: A Comprehensive Survey. Computers 2021, 10, 164. https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10120164

AMA Style

Sadeghpour S, Vlajic N. Click Fraud in Digital Advertising: A Comprehensive Survey. Computers. 2021; 10(12):164. https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10120164

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sadeghpour, Shadi, and Natalija Vlajic. 2021. "Click Fraud in Digital Advertising: A Comprehensive Survey" Computers 10, no. 12: 164. https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10120164

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