‘SmokeScreen’: The Ad Fraud Scheme That’s Hijacking CTV With Screensavers

Smart TV on the blue wall in living room,3d rendering

As the popularity of CTV continues to explode for viewers and advertisers, it seems fraudsters are now attempting to cash in.

A new report from DoubleVerify has identified a new ad fraud scheme targeting CTV devices, where screensavers are used to hijack devices.

Labelled ‘SmokeScreen’, the scheme uses screensavers to falsify ad traffic. According to DoubleVerify’s report, SmokeScreen operates various fraudulent apps that offer screensavers to users, meaning once the user downloads one of these apps, SmokeScreen begins generating thousands of false requests.

These false impressions are then generated even when the device is turned off.

SmokeScreen has also managed to falsify impressions so that they appear as though they have come from premium CTV apps.

With an average $US20 ($27) CPM across CTV and SmokeScreen able to generate more than 300 million false ad requests a month, the scheme could be defrauding advertisers and publishers around $US6 million ($8.17 million) per month.

Upon releasing the report, DoubleVerify revealed it has managed to neutralise the threat, by creating a SmokeScreen detector which shows advertisers and publishers when the scheme is in action.

“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 Mark Zagorski, Chief Executive Officer at DoubleVerify.

“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.”


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