The IAS Threat Lab has brought the industry’s attention to a growing bot scheme called the 404bot.
Spotted in early 2018, this scheme is rooted in domain spoofing activities — the fake URLs are not easily detectable to the human eye. The bot is focused on targeting large and, more importantly, out-of-date Ads.txt files. The implementation of Ads.txt by publishers thus far has shown a dramatic decline in bad actors being able to abuse the ecosystem, but fraudsters are constantly evolving, and are now able to capitalize on unaudited Ads.txt files.
Thanks to our Threat Lab’s diligence, we were able to identify the sophisticated 404bot, and ensure that our clients, and the industry as a whole, are protected from the effects. It is crucial to continuously audit and update Ads.txt files to mitigate the 404bot threat.
If you have questions as to whether your campaigns were affected, please reach out to your IAS representative. Read more about the 404bot.