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2 min read

Ukraine Invasion’s Influence on Global Online Ad Fraud

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MIDDLETOWN, Delaware, September 12, 2023 – Anura Solutions, LLC, experts in digital advertising fraud detection, and the University of Delaware announce the release of a comprehensive white paper that outlines the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on global digital advertising fraud.The study and research were conducted by University of Delaware’s Edward Hartono, Ph.D.

“What particularly intrigues us in this study is the discovery of a substantial decrease in ad fraud in Russia following the Ukraine invasion—a surprising twist that calls for a more comprehensive investigation,” says Hartono. “Normally, we associate political and economic instability with an uptick in criminal activities, including fraud. Therefore, our research is dedicated to dissecting the specific factors and dynamics that have led to this surprising and counterintuitive trend.”

The approach of the white paper was to examine extensive data collected by Anura detailing traffic to their clients’ global web assets during the months leading up to the invasion and the days immediately following the conflict. Leveraging a combination of machine learning algorithms and experienced engineers, Anura’s team meticulously analyzed the data to detect any telltale signs of fraudulent activity. The research uncovered a counterintuitive phenomenon of reduced fraudulent activity in the days following the invasion. The paper examines the possible explanations for the decline by analyzing the exchange between the global online advertising industry and the political and economic instability of Ukraine and surrounding areas.

The findings of this research were overwhelming when we looked at the numbers immediately following the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” said Rich Kahn, CEO and co-founder of Anura Solutions LLC. “The overall amount of global digital advertising fraud dropped significantly in the days following the attack. Those results were not unexpected to our team, as we are aware that a substantial proportion of digital advertising fraud originates from the regions of Russia and China. In areas with large populations and elevated poverty rates worldwide, desperate individuals commonly resort to fraudulent activities to survive, often making digital ad fraud the answer,” explains Kahn.

In the year 2022, the global spend on advertising exceeded $500 billion. This substantial financial contribution makes online businesses particularly attractive targets for individuals seeking to exploit illegitimate activities. Notably, there has been a surge in the number of illicit bots and human fraud farms, with a substantial number originating from the Eastern European countries that experienced disruption due to the Ukraine invasion.

“Russia faces a lot of adverse consequences due to its actions in Ukraine,” says Kahn. “The ongoing conflict is widely condemned by the international community and, as a result, Russia is certain to endure long-term repercussions, spanning both legitimate and criminal gains for decades to come.” Unprecedented sanctions on Russia will not only impair financial exchange and trade, but will continue impede the global community from spreading Russian based digital ad fraud.

“Given the substantial decrease in ad fraud following a military invasion, we can anticipate that similar large-scale events will exert a significant impact on online fraud within the conflict-affected countries. This foresight is invaluable for companies like Anura and online advertisers, enabling them to formulate strategies to mitigate losses more effectively,” says Hartono.


Sherrii Brentari, Director of Marketing, Anura Solutions.

About Anura Solutions 

Founded by husband-and-wife team, Rich and Beth Kahn, Anura is an ad fraud solution designed to improve campaign performance by accurately identifying bots, malware, and human fraud. The couple, who owned a company that was featured in the Inc. 5000 list five years in a row, have a long track record of entrepreneurial success—including earning an Ernst & Young entrepreneur award in technology.

Benchmarked against validated conversion data, Anura can ensure the accuracy and thoroughness of the solution. Anura also offers the most detailed analytics dashboard to provide the proof of fraud.  With a combination of machine learning and experienced engineers, Anura can detect even the most sophisticated fraud techniques in real-time. 

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