Com Olho Flags Botnets that have Access to 100 Million Indians’ Private Data

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Gurugram based cyber security and digital AD threat intelligence platform Com Olho, has red flagged domains/botnets that have access to private shopping data of close to 100 million Indians. The domains mailindiaa.com and connectinboxx.com were identified to be the platforms that are registered on private proxies, which masks their digital identities. These platforms use email servers and automations which targets Indian consumers to serve the ads. The technique of masking also suggests possible tax evasion by the real owners of the platform.

Over the last 3 months, Com Olho has been tracking activity of these domains collecting over 6000+ cases. Some of the major brands that are impacted by these domains are Amazon India, ICICI Bank, Policy Bazaar, Bajaj Finserv etc. Government entities like State Bank of India, ITR Forms & Verifications, Indian Railways, Bank of Maharashtra, GST etc. are also targeted to drive traffic to websites that are running Google or other forms of advertisements on their platforms, instead of redirecting them to legitimate information. The World Federation of Advertisers predict ad fraud will become the biggest market for organized crime by 2025, worth $50 billion. Forrester study found 69% of brands spending $1 million per month lost at least 20% of their budgets to digital ad fraud. Platforms like connectinboxx.com and mailindiaa.com register fake domains to run performance led campaigns using automated email engines for advertisers on first party data. The ability of these domains to target consumers based on their keyword search on various applications depicts an organized ad fraud crime behavior on server side, or in other words a compromised state of data of fellow Indians in hands of owners of shady domains like connectinboxx.com and mailindiaa.com.

These domains are non-traceable, they don’t have sitting teams in India or abroad, or have a legitimate website. Digital assets in India are not regulated yet, and this provides an opportunity to fraudsters to make financial gains using advertising fraud. Advertising fraud is a global problem with estimated losses up to $40bn worldwide, and Com Olho has estimated losses up to 3000cr in the Indian market in FY20. Going by these numbers, it makes Ad fraud the second biggest organized crime in the world after drug trafficking. 

Adding to this, Abhinav Bangia, Founder & CTO Com Olho said, “Digital assets need regulation and should be considered as compulsive business assets. The ad fraud menace is just like another pandemic that is plaguing our nation’s digital security for years. We are ready with technology that can assist our government to curb this menace while helping out in the policy changes to address the issue of digital advertising fraud”