DoubleVerify busts CTV ad fraud scheme siphoning $6M per month

DoubleVerify claims that its Fraud Lab has uncovered and neutralized a new connected TV advertising fraud scheme dubbed “SmokeScreen.”

DV said the ad fraud operation was using screensavers to hijack CTV devices to generate impressions even if the screen is off. The company used an average $20 CPM across CTV to estimate that each month SmokeScreen generates more than 300 million ad requests, valued at over $6 million, and warned that the scheme is still active on unprotected CTV platforms and advertiser campaigns, impacting nearly 10,000 devices daily.

“As fraudsters continue to aggressively target the CTV space, we are committed to blocking emerging fraud schemes across all devices, formats and ad delivery platforms,” said DoubleVerify CEO Mark Zagorski in a statement. “Safeguarding the brands we serve is our first priority, since it directly impacts ad effectiveness. Fraud harms inventory quality, which in turn drives suboptimal business outcomes for global advertisers. Through the incredible efforts of our Fraud Lab, DV is providing CTV advertisers with much-needed transparency and protection, while helping to preserve the monetization opportunity for quality publishers.”

RELATED: Google, Roku and others take down CTV ad fraud botnets

Earlier this year DoubleVerify claimed another takedown when it confirmed seven fraud schemes targeting CTV devices over the past 18 months were part of one large, coordinated operation identified as OctoBot. The company said it caught the most recent variant of OctoBot, which has been operating since November 2019, in February and shut it down within 24 hours. MultiTerra, one of the variants within the OctoBot, was estimated to have had a $1 million per month impact in diverted spend, and SneakyTerra, another variant, was estimated to have had a $5 million per month impact.

“We’ve been seeing fraudsters aggressively target the CTV space, but the OctoBot fraud scheme family, with its multiple tentacles, is unprecedented,” said Zagorski. “OctoBot displays a high degree of ingenuity in its evolving approach — with each variant operating in a unique manner.”