Fraudsters will use a variety of strategies to perform their scams. One of the most common and most used strategy fraudsters use to conceal their illegal actions and obscure their identities is device spoofing.
Device spoofing is a method that cybercriminals employ to trick systems, networks, and devices into believing that their device is authentic. It involves changing a device’s identity to imitate another device or user, such as a computer or mobile phone.
Device spoofing is typically done to launch phishing attacks, gain unauthorized access to sensitive data or resources, or in the case of ad fraud to avoid detection by security systems and to avoid digital fingerprinting.
In this article, we will discuss device spoofing in detail, including the techniques used by attackers, the types of device spoofing, and how to protect yourself from it.
Device spoofing works by manipulating a device’s unique identifiers, such as:
By using various spoofing measures, fraudsters can bypass a number of security protocols. To identify who is using their services or visiting their websites, for instance, many ad platforms or online services will use device fingerprinting.
Device fingerprinting uses a variety of techniques, including a combination of the user agent string and other factors like the IP address, device hash, cookie hash, and more, to identify the website visitor.
Device fingerprinting can also be used to block the display of ads from specific browsers, device types, or even geographic areas.
With the help of device spoofing, fraudsters manipulate and bypass device fingerprinting. Specifically, they use it to:
In our overview of the biggest cases of ad / click fraud, the trend is quite clear: fraudsters have been making a killing in recent years by passing off bots as CTV devices to get more expensive ad inventory. Fraudsters have even gone so far as to spoof smart refrigerators as CTVs devices. All thanks to the device spoofing method and a wide range of software that makes it possible.
The good news first: With bot detection software like fraud0 it is possible to protect your ad budget from device spoofing.
fraud0 automatically examines several thousand factors in real time for each visitor. The system also uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to learn how visitors interact with your website / app, helping you detect and block spoofing attempts.
Now for the bad news: without such software, you won’t be able to detect device spoofing attacks. The fraudsters are too clever for that, and their deployed bots are too advanced. In your analytics data, you would only see traffic coming from what appears to be real devices.