Defences Against Online Fraud, a Multibillion Dollar Business


Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 5:00pm


RCC Main Conference Room, 26 Trowbridge. Cambridge MA 02138

RCC is pleased to announce this talk featuring Ruben Cuevas Rumin, Assistant Professor, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.  

While substantial effort has been devoted to understand fraudulent activity in traditional online advertising (search and banner), more recent forms such as video ads have received little attention. The understanding and identification of fraudulent activity (i.e., fake views on videos) in video ads for advertisers, is complicated as they rely exclusively on the detection mechanisms deployed by video hosting portals. In this context, the development of independent tools able to monitor and audit the fidelity of these systems are missing today and needed by both industry and regulators.

In this paper we present a first set of tools to serve this purpose. Using our tools, we evaluate the performance of the fake view detection systems of five major online video portals. Our results reveal that YouTube’s detection system significantly outperforms all the others. Despite this, a systematic evaluation indicates that it may still be susceptible to simple attacks. Furthermore, we find that YouTube penalizes its users’ public and monetized view counters differently, with the former being more aggressive. In practice, this means that views identified as fake and discounted from the public view-counter are still monetized. We speculate that even though YouTube’s policy puts in lots of effort to compensate users after an attack is discovered, this practice places the burden of the risk on the advertisers, who pay to get their ads displayed.

About the Author

Ruben Cuevas Rumin was born in Madrid, in 1981. He obtained his PhD and MSc in Telematics Engineering and MSc in Telecommunications Engineering at University Carlos III of Madrid (Spain) in 2010, 2007 and 2005 respectively. Furthermore he received his MSc in Network Planning and Managment at Aalborg University (Denmark) in 2006. He is member of the Telematic Engineering Department and NETCOM research group since 2006, where he is currently Assistant Professor. Between January and December 2012 he was Courtesy Assistant Professor in the Computer and Information Science department at University of Oregon. In addition, from September 2008 until March 2009 he was intern in the Internet Scientific Group at Telefonica Research Lab Barcelona.He is coauthor of more than 50 papers in prestigious international journals and conferences such as IEEE Infocom, ACM CoNEXT, WWW, IEEE/ACM TON, IEEE TPDS, PlosONE or Communications of the ACM. He has been the PI of 6 research projects funded by the EU H2020 and FP7 programs, the National Government of Spain and private companies and associations and overall has participated in more than 15 research projects. Ruben's main research interests include Online Advertising, Personalization and Privacy, Online Social Networks, Internet Measurements and Content Distribution.

Ruben's research in file-sharing piracy, online social networks and online advertising fraud has been featured in major international and national media such as The Financial Times, BBC, The Guardian, The Times, Wired, Corriere della Sera, O'Globo, El Pais, El Mundo, ABC, Cadena Ser, Cadena Cope, TVE, Antena3, etc'

Ruben has been teaching since 2006 in different degrees and masters at UC3M including Telecommunications Engineering, Telematics Engineering and Computer Science. Moreover he was the Main Instructor of a Master/PhD course at the CIS department at University of Oregon in Fall semester 2012.

Sponsor(s): RCC