How to Fight Artificially Inflated Traffic Attacks

Profile Headshot of Satyam Gupta
Satyam Gupta

mins read

December 5, 2023

Artificially Inflated Traffic

Key Takeaways

  1. As per a report by Mobilesquared, AIT has taken over grey routes as one of the biggest threats to A2P messaging in 2023
  2. AIT is mostly associated with OTP SMS verification where bots create fake accounts and trigger a flood of OTP SMS
  3. Bot detection using methods like CAPTCHA, behavior analysis is a prominent way of fighting AIT
  4. AIT employs click farm fraud, bot networks and domain spoofing to create artificial traffic
  5. It is very significant to select a reliable OTP SMS provider like Verify Now to avoid AIT attacks

AIT has become one of the greatest risks to A2P messaging. According to a report by Mobilesquared, it has become the biggest threat.

Biggest Threat to A2P Messaging in 2023

Artificially Inflated Traffic (AIT) is a burgeoning issue that threatens the integrity of the digital ecosystem. This form of fraud employs bots and automation to generate a high volume of counterfeit traffic via websites or mobile applications, leading to significant financial and reputational setbacks for businesses.

Understanding Artificially Inflated Traffic

AIT fraud involves the use of bots to create fake accounts and trigger a flood of OTP SMS messages sent by OTP service providers. This fraudulent activity often colludes with rogue parties to intercept this inflated traffic without actually delivering messages to end-users, subsequently claiming revenue and sharing profits. The key terms related to AIT fraud include:

  1. Click Farms: Organized groups that mimic genuine traffic by registering accounts with online platforms and interacting with digital content.
  2. Bot Traffic: Automated traffic generated by bots to mimic human online behavior and create fraudulent interactions.
  3. Artificial Impressions: Fabricated views, clicks, or interactions with digital content with the aim of manipulating metrics and deceiving advertisers.
  4. Click Fraud: The act of using bots, scripts, or click farms to increase the number of clicks on digital content, resulting in higher costs for businesses.
  5. View Fraud: A tactic where attackers target ads and web content to generate fake views, inflating perceived popularity.
  6. Impression Fraud: A scheme where fraudulent actors boost impression statistics through the creation of fake impressions, leading to businesses paying for non-existent interactions.
  7. Conversion Fraud: The simulation of actions that constitute a conversion (such as completing a purchase or filling out a form) by impersonating genuine users or using bots.

Fighting Artificially Inflated Traffic

Infographic Displaying How to Fight Artificially Inflated Traffic By Message Central

Identifying and preventing AIT fraud as early as possible is critical. Here are some ways to achieve this:

  1. Bot Detection and CAPTCHA: Differentiating between genuine and bot traffic is the first step in combating AIT fraud. This can be achieved via CAPTCHAs, behavioural analysis, device fingerprinting, and user authentication methods.
  2. Analytics Tools: Fraud analytics software can analyze data patterns, detect anomalies, and flag suspicious behaviours, playing a key role in identifying AIT fraud.
  3. Machine Learning Algorithms: Machine learning algorithms can detect AIT fraud using historical data, learning from it, and identifying emerging patterns of malicious behaviour.
  4. IP Blocking: IP blocking is a simple, cost-effective method to prevent automated bot attacks and optimize performance by reducing the strain on digital resources.
  5. Ad Fraud Solutions: Software programs designed to combat AIT fraud can help businesses detect fraud, reduce false positives, and enhance protection from AIT fraud.
  6. Legal and Ethical Implications of AIT Fraud: AIT fraud can result in violation of regulations, leading to penal action and hefty fines. It also gives unscrupulous businesses a competitive edge over others, which means honest businesses receive low or no visibility.
  7. Addressing AIT Fraud with Message Central: Message Central, with its direct telecom connectivity not only provides best routes but also help avoid such attacks with its cutting edge technology. The team also provides 24/7 support.

The Mechanisms of Artificially Inflated Traffic

AIT fraud commonly employs methods such as click farm fraud, bot networks, and domain spoofing.

  1. Click Farm Fraud: In a click farm attack, multiple devices are used to simulate diverse users and make interactions appear authentic. By using proxy servers to mask their location and timing their actions to mimic legitimate user behaviour, attackers attempt to evade detection.
  2. Bot Networks: Bot networks facilitate collaboration among parties who power illicit activities and profit from them. They play a significant role in AIT fraud by automating the generation of fake clicks, views, and other interactions on online content.
  3. Domain Spoofing: Attackers manipulate the domain or app name to resemble trusted entities, deceive advertisers into placing their ads or content on a fraudulent website or app, and inflate the perceived popularity of the content.

The Impact of Artificially Inflated Traffic

AIT fraud has severe implications, causing direct and indirect financial losses for businesses and mobile network operators (MNOs), and compromising user account security. The increased financial burden on businesses due to fraudulently inflated metrics leads to resource wastage, ineffective content strategies, misguided ad spends, and diminished impact of marketing campaigns.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, to create a secure A2P messaging ecosystem and win back trust, telcos, businesses, and aggregators need to work together and deploy solutions to prevent artificial inflation of traffic.  

The communication industry is growing, and the continued tolerance towards artificial inflation of traffic could result in a loss of credibility and messaging use cases being moved to other OTT channels.  

Businesses need to be aware of the risks of using low-cost routes, telcos need to align their expectations with their markets organic growth, and aggregators mustn’t put their reputation in questions to save a few dollars. With vigilant monitoring and robust countermeasures, the digital ecosystem can effectively combat the menace of artificially inflated traffic.

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