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The 404bot threat has been active since 2018 and so far affected about 1.5 billion video ads.

The digital ad verification firm Integral Ad Science (IAS) warned brands about a highly sophisticated and growing bot threat that has generated fake browser data and fabricated URLs to steal advertisers’ media spend. The bot, dubbed as the 404bot, has reportedly cost advertisers $15 million in media spends since 2018.

The article states that it is a browser level threat, and the bot exploits the defence system built to protect ad buyers from “bogus sellers – the Authorised Digital Sellers initiative, known as Ads.txt.”  The sophistication of this bot’s mechanism often lets it bypass multiple security measures.

IAS Threat Lab ‘s Head, Evgeny Shmelkov, said that implementing Ads.txt can help publishers fight this threat. But, added that there is a need to stay on top of updates while holding regular audits.

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[2 minute read]

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