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Publishers and advertisers are losing over $1bn each year due to auto-redirects

Tyrone Stewart

DetourAuto-redirects are costing publishers and marketers more than $1bn and, according to ad security and verification company GeoEdge, its only set to get worse with the emergence of seven new families of redirect attacks.

Auto-redirects are the infuriating ads which redirect mobile or desktop browsers to some sort of scam regarding a fake prize, fake virus, or app that you’ve never even heard of. 72 per cent of all auto-redirects occur on mobile devices.

One example of the new forms of redirect attack is hidden auto-redirects, which open invisible iframes and goes on its own delivery path – serving and clicking ads automatically. These hidden mobile redirects do not affect the user experience but are estimated to cost the industry $920m.

In addition, one of the redirects uncovered by GeoEdge has publishers such as The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Forbes all whitelisted.

“The whitelisting of hidden auto-redirect attacks is just one tactic designed to reduce the likelihood of uncovering these fraudulent activities,” said Amnon Siev, CEO of GeoEdge. “Through a series of analyses of campaign behaviour, as well as domain and network reputation, GeoEdge’s security team has been able to identify a range of malicious auto-redirect activities, which are generating over $1bn in losses for publishers and marketers, a significant increase from last year.”