Cookie hijacking is the insertion of an affiliate cookie by distributing adware through web browser extensions or software applications (Windows & MAC). This is executed by hijacking the click elements on advertisers' websites. In this process, the attackers control the user's entire session on the advertiser's site by modifying the stolen cookies.
Here are the most common ways to induce cookie hijacking:
Adware and Malware are unwanted programs that bundle up with useful software to find a tunnel into the user’s system. Cybercriminals use these programs for packet sniffing expressly designed to penetrate session cookies.
The installed malware in the user’s system is instigated to provide access to their system; this allows the criminals to navigate through their machine and access the cookies of their use.
The attackers use elements such as call-to-action buttons, search bars, black spaces, or footers to install affiliate cookies. The fraud affiliate earns a commission whenever the user clicks on any hijacked elements on the advertiser’s domain and purchases something.
This results in favor of the attackers, as they earn commissions without driving legitimate traffic to the advertiser’s website.
In a Session Fixation attack, the fraudsters try to launch a fixed session in a user’s browser. So, the user is trapped without even logging in. There are many ways of instigating a web-based fixation session, primarily through session identifiers accepted from fraudulent posts or URLs.
In cross-site scripting, malicious software is injected through a running code. These scripts appear to be a part of the browser’s side script. The fraud affiliates use cross-site scripting to target buyers and customers. These buyers and customers follow through with the script, believing it origins from a credible source.
When the users pursue these scripts, the affiliate can access their session details, cookies, and sensitive information. Once the affiliate successfully hijacks the user’s customer journey, it is easily accessible for them to modify the hijacked cookies and add affiliate cookies to misguide the advertiser.
The purpose of cookie hijacking is to undertake the web session control mechanism. The process involves a valid cookie to steal user data, bypass security, or both. The primary purpose of cookie hijacking is to auto-redirection or to show irrelevant products for a particular search.
Cookie hijacking enables an affiliate to redirect a user to different product pages. For example, the user can be redirected to another product page or a similar page, as the affiliate intends.
Click hijacking enables a search engine to mismatch the search intent. For example, the buyer might search for bags, but the results might show the user shoes or clothing.
Cookie hijacking can have several significant impacts, including:
As per a study by the University of Baltimore, the total ad fraud amounted to 23 Billion Dollars. Out of this, 1.4 Billion worth of loss happened due to affiliate marketing frauds. Cookie hijacking is one of the primary ways hackers steal illegitimate commissions. As a result, the hackers acquire no new audience for the brand, hence impacting the brand’s advertising budget.
The fraudsters often redirect the user multiple times to insert malicious cookies into their browser. The adware affects the user’s browsing experience and slows down various brand pages. This can delude the customer to encounter a poor user experience. Thus, hampering with the brand's reputation and losing customers' trust.
The hackers regulate the user’s session/cookie remotely. After the session is hijacked, the attackers can perform all actions like legitimate users.
With VPT’s Affiliate Management Services, monitoring publishers has never been easier.
Discover how your publishers are promoting your brand with;
Check the backgrounds of your publishers, and monitor the newly registered affiliates. Furthermore, keep a check on high-earning publishers and how they are doing it.
VPT services are regulated by FTC and EU General Trade Data Protection, followed by Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Check your analytics with metrics based on historical data. Evaluate your sales, conversions, and ROI by monitoring user traffic data.
We use machine learning and reverse engineering approaches to monitoring the ways your affiliates are promoting your brand. We help advertisers to maintain compliances, recover the advertising budgets and protect their brand reputation. Manage your affiliate networks with real-time monitoring to drive revenue and preserve the customer experience.Read More
Our data driven publisher profiling and fraud detection solutions help affiliate networks track and analyze each activity of their affiliates. Track and monitor the affiliates to give the best ROI to the advertisers relying upon your network. Enhance your reputation for high-quality traffic by evaluating targeted publisher content.Read More
We help digital agencies to differentiate their offering and provide high-quality traffic by evaluating the affiliate content that uses their client's tracking links. Our technology-enabled customized solutions help digital agencies automate frequent checks for affiliate fraud. In turn, enhancing their customer satisfaction and maintaining global marketing compliances.Read More