Online Scammers Rely on What We Don’t See to Succeed

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It is a safe bet that, unless you are somehow involved in the web development industry, you have no clue how the internet actually works. You probably don’t know how your browser or email applications work, either. Online scammers are counting on that. They rely on what we do not see to rip us off.

Online Scammers

You are seeing this post as text displayed on your screen. But what you see is just a small portion of what it takes to display the text you are reading. There is a ton of stuff going on in the background. There’s a bunch of code that dictates what happens ‘under the hood’, so to speak. This is where online scammers operate. They are content to remain under the hood and behind the scenes.

Redirecting Our Web Browsers

One of the biggest sources of online scams right now is something known as click fraud. In the simplest possible terms, click fraud involves fraudulently displaying mobile ads or clicking pay-per-click (PPC) ads for the express purpose of generating revenue. There is never any intent to visit advertiser websites or buy their goods and services.

A recently discovered click fraud scam ripped off advertisers by redirecting website visitors to fake websites into which Google AdSense IDs were embedded. Every redirection registered as an ad click that cost advertisers money while lining the pockets of the fraudsters.

The interesting thing is that the perpetrators of this scam used malware to infect some 10,000 WordPress websites. Visitors to those websites were redirected to the fake Q&A sites without even knowing what was happening.

Malware Runs Quietly in the Background

The attack is just one example of how online scammers take advantage of what we don’t see. As you and I browse the web on our laptop computers or mobile devices, there is a lot going out in the background. We don’t ever see any of it. And yet, it continues unabated.

The perpetrators of this particular scam infected WordPress websites with malware that would continually run in the background. Whenever a visitor loaded an infected site, the malware would activate. It would remain active until the user left that site.

Unfortunately, neither the visitor nor the website owner would have any idea that the malware was running. It would have to be detected by an antivirus application or some mother external tool.

A Very Common Problem

Fraud Blocker is one example of a click fraud prevention software package capable of detecting cybersecurity threats of this nature. Its developers say that click fraud is a very common problem most people are completely ignorant of. It doesn’t affect us directly, so there would be no need for us to be aware of it.

Online advertisers are the most effected by click fraud. They waste billions every year on ads that are not reaching actual human beings. Click fraud is so prevalent that many online advertisers just accept that their ads will be subject to it at some level.

What We Can’t See, They Can

Stopping online fraud isn’t impossible. However, it isn’t easy either. You and I cannot see what goes on behind the scenes and under the hood. Cybercriminals can. They know how the internet works. They know how PPC and mobile ads work. They can see what we cannot. And what they see can be manipulated for their gain.

It is good to know that tools like Fraud Blocker exist. Online advertisers appreciate the efforts of cybersecurity companies willing to help them fight the fight against cybercrime. Will the fight ever be won? Only time will tell.

 

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