Click Forensics has noticed a new spike in click fraud traffic coming from they've dubbed the "Bahama botnet." The codename came about because the botnet was first detected redirecting traffic through 200,000 parked domains located in the Bahamas. Click Forensics has tracked instances where the Bahama botnet has affected up to 30% of an advertiser's monthly search marketing budget.
"During the past four years we've monitored billions of clicks for top search engines, ad networks, publishers and advertisers. This scheme is one of the most sophisticated we've seen," said Paul Pellman, CEO of Click Forensics. "The botnet is effectively disguising the fraud it produces as 'good traffic' by altering the interval and breadth of the attacks across legions of infected machines."
Click Forensics has found malware associated with the botnet in search results on Google for "Facebook Fan Check virus." The malware behaves similarly to the advertising malware that the New York Times fell prey to last weekend. The Times inadvertently sold advertising to a "scareware" program that encouraged consumers to download malware-checking software. The software itself was actually malware.
Today, one of our Search Engine Watch experts, Marc Poirier (co-founder and CMO of Acquisio), wrote an extensive piece on click fraud. Be sure to check it out.