Panda Software discovered a network of computers infected with Clickbot.A bot which is being used to defraud pay per click systems. The data collected so far shows that the scam is exploiting a global network comprising more than 34,000 zombie computers (those infected by the bot).
“The bots are controlled remotely through several Web servers. This allows the perpetrators to define, for example, the web pages on which the adverts are hosted or the maximum number of clicks from any one IP address in order not to arouse suspicions. Similarly, the number of clicks from the bot can be monitored as well as the computers online at any one time. The system used can evade fraud detection systems by sending click requests from different, unrelated IP addresses.”
Panda did not name the company whose advertisements are being targeted by the ‘Clickbot.A’ network. The Trojan activates on infected machines whenever a user launches Internet Explorer.
Read the complete press release.
This detection by PandaSoftware has added fuel to the PPC click fraud debate and the growing concerns of companies investing in PPC as a marketing tool. The financial impact of the fraud scheme could be tremendous. Depending on the number of clicks and cost per click of each ad, the numbers may reach into the billions.