In an effort to reduce affiliate fraud and mitigate privacy risks, web and internet security company Akamai has launched Audience Hijacking Protector, a cloud-based solution designed to minimize in-browser marketing fraud by blocking unwanted redirects such as unauthorized advertisements and pop-ups.
Promising protection against possible lost revenue and disrupted customer experiences, the new hack protector, generally available now, offers features to defend against unwanted redirection of customers to competing and malicious websites.
“The browser is often an overlooked area for controlling application behavior,” said Patrick Sullivan, technical director of security strategy at Akamai. “But in-browser protections are a key area for effective business and security controls. Audience Hijacking Protector gathers unique data that generates actionable insights to maximize revenue opportunities and minimize fraud.”
Audience Hijacking Protector uses a machine learning algorithm that monitors and characterizes browser extension activity – both legitimate and illegal – for categories such as purchases, browser hijacking, price comparisons, selling user data, price comparisons and competitors’ advertisements. These extensions are controllable in each category and may have different rules for different situations.
Browser data analysis helps to implement business rules
According to Sullivan, Audience Hijacking Protector can be activated in minutes and runs automatically in the background, collecting and analyzing browser data to help enforce effective business rules.
“Traditionally, ad fraud is fought through visibility and traffic analysis, but the bad actors, knowing that ad fraud is a big and lucrative business, have become much more sophisticated.” says Liz Miller, analyst at Constellation Research. “Thus, the market needs new multi-focused, AI-powered monitoring, detection, mitigation and reporting methods. There are several competitors to Akamai’s solution, but what makes this offering attractive is Akamai’s long-standing position as a leader. Content Delivery Network (CDN) and Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) with tools like Kona Site Defender.”
While the new hijacker protector promises full protection against malicious redirects, could it block legitimate redirects, designed as a third-party link or cross-sell landing page?
According to Miller, while it’s rare for these tools to block genuine and legitimate traffic redirects, it’s not entirely impossible. “The key is for teams to strategize and define where and what desirable versus undesirable redirects look like,” she adds.
As part of the Audience Hijacking Protector announcement, Akamai also unveiled additional products and features for online businesses.
- Page Integrity Manager Enhancements: New features protect against browser exfiltration and other script-based attacks with Akamai’s in-house threat intelligence, Akamai ETP. A policy layer enhancement has also been added that allows businesses to create custom detections.
- API Data Loss Prevention: Allows companies to discover where personally identifiable information (PII) may be disclosed or used by APIs.
- App & API Protector Custom Rule Builder: Provides businesses with a custom rule builder featuring additions such as sampling intervals, more match conditions, and improved user massage.
- Managed Alerts for Bot Manager: Akamai’s Managed Security Service has been upgraded to provide higher quality, real-time alerts to improve the accuracy of bot detection.
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