Cyber security researchers state that botnets are available for rent to boost a website’s traffic figures.
Through the monitoring of internet forums and message boards, security researchers state that Russian hackers will sell 1,000 visitors to a website for $1. The botnets are based on computers around the world, and the traffic sellers state that they can direct the traffic from any country.
The fake traffic is bought by website owners in order to increase advertising revenue. The botnets create fake page views and ad clicks in order to make it seem like a real-life visitor viewed the site and clicked on the ad. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the most sophisticated bots discovered by cyber security professionals found that the botnets can watch videos, pause at ads, and click on items to put it into the online shopping carts.
Source: Christopher S. Stewart and Suzanne Vranica, “Phony Web Traffic Tricks Digital Ads.” Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2013.