Computer Crime Research Center


Spyware-Driven Fraud

Date: May 09, 2007

A substantial portion of online traffic may be an illusion, calling into question the underpinnings of the Internet's advertising economy.

A study by spyware researcher Ben Edelman finds that spyware-driven traffic inflation is common, particularly at video sites. What's more, Edelman said that spyware also is being used to manipulate the popularity of YouTube videos.

The study identifies,,,,, and as the beneficiaries of spyware-driven traffic.

Edelman said he could have written up at least 20 examples if he'd had the time.

Spyware is typically seen as a way to steal personal information. But it also can be used to defraud advertisers and investors by inflating Web site visitor counts.
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