404bot Scheme

In early 2019, the IAS Threat Lab unmasked a large-scale ad fraud scheme that has been on the prowl since 2018. This bot scheme’s main game is domain-spoofing, a behaviour often involving non-existent URLs, earning the bot its nickname: 404bot. Here we provide details on the characteristics and crimes of the 404bot, including its immense monetary impact on the industry.

404bot Whitepaper

Here we have a comprehensive run-down of the 404bot’s treacherous activity, including a detailed explanation of Ads.txt, domain spoofing, the repercussions of the cyberattack, and the path forward as a unified industry.

404bot One Sheet

For those who want a brief, view-from-the-top rundown on the behaviour and monetary impact of the 404bot...without all of the exciting graphs.

Ad Fraud Essentials eBook

Let’s talk ad fraud. What is it? Who does it? How do they get paid? And, most importantly, how do we stop them? We’ll answer these questions and more in this map of the fraud landscape with the IAS Essentials eBook.

Calculate potential annual savings

Enter media metrics

Annual impressions


Average CPM


Brand safety savings up to

based on H2 2017 auto benchmark of 6.7% of display ads next to risky content and 9.1% of video ads

Ad fraud savings up to

based on H2 2017 auto benchmark of 1.3% of display impressions are fraudulent and 3.5% of video

How IAS is fighting fraud

As ad fraud becomes more advanced, the digital industry needs sophisticated detection methods and proactive measures to effectively avoid getting targeted. IAS has a dedicated Threat Lab comprised of specialized analysts, engineers, white-hat-hackers, and data scientists who identify and stop fraudulent activity. For even more support, our team works with experts from law enforcement and academic institutions to continuously examine the forces behind digital advertising fraud.

3 More Bad Bots: the IAS Bot Papers

Poweliks 1.9


07/12 by David Wells



11/01 by David Wells



11/01 by IAS Team

For more information, download our 404bot toolkit with all of the resources above.