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New e-mail schedule threatens to cause Google AdSense websites to be dropped off, unless they pay bitcoin

A new email scam threatens website owners with a flood of traffic to suspend their Google AdSense accounts, Krebs about security reports.

By directing a large amount of bot traffic to a company’s banner ads, the scammers can activate Google’s automated anti-fraud protection, which highlights traffic similar to “automated click tools or traffic sources”, as well as any attempt by ad publishers to artificially raise it number of impressions by clicking on their own ads. According to Google’s policies, such actions may result in an ad being limited until the issue is resolved, meaning there are few or no clicks on the ad and less revenue for the publisher.

The scammers in the latest scheme promise not to unleash their bots on the publisher’s ad if the publisher sends a $ 5,000 bitcoin payment. Brian Krebs shared an example of an email that one of his readers received:

The warning above will no doubt appear on the dashboard of your AdSense account soon! This will happen because we are about to flood your site with a huge amount of instantly bot generated web traffic with a 100% bounce ratio and thousands of IPs in rotation – a nightmare for any AdSense publisher. In addition, we will adjust our advanced bots to open every AdSense banner that runs on your site in an endless cycle with different duration.

So by temporarily boosting traffic to an ad, the scam may potentially kill the future performance of the ad. Google announced in August that, in an effort to protect the quality of its advertising networks, it “improved its defense” to identify invalid traffic. The measures may be that an advertisement is not displayed if automated activity is detected.

In response to the latest e-mail scam, Google told Krebs that it looks like a threat of sabotage that the company regards as “extremely rare in practice,” and adds that it has built-in protections to prevent such arrangements from succeeding.

AdSense publishers can contact Google to report invalid ad clicks and should contact the help center if they think they have been the victim of sabotage.