SoS Speaker Series: Methods and Characteristics of Fraud in Online Advertising

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Paul Barford2Paul Barford, University of Wisconsin, Madison
October 16, 2015, 10:00 a.m., B02 Coordinated Science Lab


Abstract:  The diversity of entities and complexity of mechanisms involved in the delivery of online display and video advertisements lead to a variety of opportunities for fraudsters.  Recent reports by estimate online fraud in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually.  In this talk, I will provide an overview of the online ad eco-system.  I will describe the methods that are commonly used to commit ad fraud, and the basic approaches to detecting and mitigating fraud.  I will also describe a new type of ad fraud that we call domain laundering, which is quite subtle and takes advantage of the limitations in standard methods for ad placement attribution.  I will provide an overview of the mechanisms used to facilitate domain laundering along with case studies on three different instances of domain laundering that we have identified and diagnosed.  I will conclude with a discussion on approaches for enhanced identification and mitigation of online ad fraud including domain laundering.

Bio:  Paul Barford a professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He is also the Chief Scientist at comScore, Inc.  His Research interests are in computer networking and communications, large data analytics, and Internet security.  He was the founder of Nemean Networks (acquired By Qualys in ‘10) and co-founder of MdotLabs (acquired By comScore in ‘14).   He has published over 100 research papers and has served on numerous national and international panels, editorial boards, organizing committees, and program committees. He has an NSF CAREER award, several best paper awards and is a Distinguished Member of the ACM and a Senior Member of the IEEE.