Click Fraud on the Rise, Thanks to Meddling Botnets

Maximum PC Staff

Human ingenuity is endlessly fascinating. Offer a guy a penny to do a task, and he’ll turn you down, no matter how simple. But give him a computer and let him write some code that will do it automatically, and he’ll take you to the cleaners.

Botnets , those pesky little creatures that perform automatic tasks, are not only becoming more commonplace, they are becoming more sophisticated. These nasty little beasties are now being used in ever more cunning ways to suck income out of unsuspecting advertisers and search engines through click fraud. According to Click Forensics, botnets accounted for 42.6% of all click fraud in the 3rd quarter of 2009--a near double increase over the same period in 2008.

You have to admire the ingenuity. One botnet, “Bahama,” carefully mimics natural searches to make them look real, and hence harder to detect. The botnet’s name comes from it redirecting traffic through some 200,000 parked domains in the Bahamas. Ultimately, the origins of the botnet was traced to the Ukrainian Fan Club, known as “online fraudsters,” and most likely comprised of guys hygienically unable to date.

Most botnet activity comes from outside the United States: the United Kingdom, Vietnam, and Germany being the top three. Germany and Vietnam I can understand, but the United Kingdom? I’ve been there. They aren’t that clever. They put a lemon wedge in a Corona.

Image Credit: revoluzzza/flickr

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