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How does the EU compare to the US for ad security in 2022?

By Anna

August 3, 2022


In July 2022 we released AdSecure’s Q1 & Q2 Violations Report 2022, to provide insights into how cyber criminals operate, globally. To give advertisers and publishers further tools to protect end users against malicious ads and increase ad security, we want to show you more in detail what we discovered in the EU and the US during this period. Both geolocations accounted for 40% of all violations detected during the first 2 quarters of 2022, with 30.9% detections being from the EU, and 9.2% from the US.

“28.6% of scans detected User Security violations across the US and the EU”

The User Security category covers detections that have a serious potential to compromise the user’s safety. We compared the EU with the US across Q1 and Q2 2022, and this is what we found:

  • Malicious URL: 82% of violations detected in the EU within the category were Malicious URL, that is 375.2% more detections in the EU than in the US.
  • SSL non-compliant: 16.5% of detections recorded in the EU were SSL non-compliant. That is 804% more violations detected than in the US.
  • Cryptocurrency miner: 0.4% of detections in the EU were Cryptocurrency mining, which is 176.7% more detections than in the US.
  • Browser locker: 0.2% of Browser Locker detections were recorded in the EU, which is 434% more violations than in the US.
  • Scareware: 0.1% of Scareware detections from the category came from the EU, that’s -4.3% less detections recorded than in the US.

Further insights:

  • The most common User Security detection is Malicious URL, representing 83.9% of violations within this category, both in the US and the EU. This detection experienced some decreases between Q1 & Q2, also across both GEOs. Malvertisers use Malicious URLs to direct users to non-compliant or dangerous sites to steal sensitive information such as logins or bank information, or to trick them into downloading malware, compromising the user’s security.
  • The US is the country with by far more Scareware detections, followed by India, Bangladesh and Brazil. Cybercriminals use this attack in the US more because it is a rich, Tier 1 country, the huge population speaks English compared to the many languages spoken in the EU making it easier for cyber criminals to launch campaigns.

“23.4% of scans detected User Experience violations across the US and the EU”

User Experience violations affect end users with malicious and annoying activity within the ad campaigns they interact with. AdSecure saw a 37.8 % decrease in User Experience violations when comparing Q1 with Q2 2022 in the EU and 38.1% decrease in the US.

The Top 3 User Experience Violations in the US combined make 73.6% of all detections within the category, at a country level:

  • Top 1: 27.9% of all User Experience Violations are JavaScript Dialog Entry detections
  • Top 2: 26.5% of all User Experience Violations are Landing Page Error detections
  • Top 3: 19.1% of all User Experience Violations are Hijack Back Button detections

How does the EU compare to the US for ad security in 2022?

The Top 3 User Experience Violations in the EU combined make 74.9% of all detections within the category within the whole continent. They are:

  • Top 1: Landing Page Error detections are 33.3% of all User Experience Violations.
  • Top 2: Permission Notifications are 22.4% of all User Experience Violations.
  • Top 3: Javascript Dialog Entry detections are 19.2% of all User Experience Violations.

How does the EU compare to the US for ad security in 2022?

Ad security Insights for User Experience Violations not in top 3:

  • Uncommon protocols are 405% more prevalent in the US than in the EU. Normally, devices use common communication protocols such as TCP/IP, DHCP, DNS, and HTTP. However, in some cases, communication may involve uncommon protocols that are used to trigger actions like automatically opening an app or launching a Skype call, impacting user experience.
  • Pop-up detections have increased by 6.9% in the US, Cybercriminals can inject malicious code, making them automatically trigger on the user’s screen, or even downloading malicious software without user interaction being needed. This violation  decreased by -9.9% in the EU from Q1 to Q2.
  • Permission-Geolocation has seen an increase of 60.9% in the US and the EU from Q1 to Q2. Malvertisers use this method for extreme location-based targeting and fraudulent location-based campaigns which on occasions end in the user’s information being stolen.

“48% of scans detected Ad Security User Advisory violations across the US and the EU”

User Advisory violations detect offensive content that isn’t suitable for all users, as well as suspicious or fraudulent activity and ads that are not aligned with advertising industry standards set by the IAB.

How does the EU compare to the US for ad security in 2022?

As we can see in the graph above, the top 3 detections within the category are Suspicious TLD, Unsafe Content Adult Threat Intelligence. These detections are also the highest ones in numbers across all detection categories. Here’s how they have behaved from Q1 to Q2:

  • Top 1: Threat Intelligence has been the 1st most recurring violation, and has experienced a 3% increase in the US from Q1 to Q2, but a decrease in the EU of 29.6%.
  • Top 2: Unsafe Content Adult has been the 2d most recurring violation. It has experienced a 18.3% decrease in the EU and the US from Q1 to Q2.
  • Top 3: Suspicious TLD has been the 3d most recurring violation, and has experienced a 30% decrease in the EU and the US from Q1 to Q2.

Insights of User Advisory Detections not in top 3:

  • IAB Detections, which represent 5% of all detections within the category, stayed pretty much the same in the EU across quarters, and experienced a -28% in the EU from Q1 to Q2. This violation is based on an AdSecure detection tool that is specifically designed to identify Ads that aren’t IAB compliant in terms of size, dimensions, weight, and behavior. Thanks to that, advertisers are learning best practices to serve Ads that procure a much better experience for the user.
  • Ad Crypto is a new detection by AdSecure based on keyword detection introduced on June 28th. By July 12th AdSecure detected 134,356 instances of this violation, globally - an average of 8,957 daily violations. 44% of these detections are from the US and the EU.
  • The decrease in User Advisory violations, shows that cyber criminals are switching tactics to other types of violations. This could be because other types are more profitable for them.

Keeping the users safe with AdSecure's ad security tools

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Unlike older solutions, AdSecure's crawler is powered by Chrome, and built on the same modern browser technology that powers today’s online world. This technology interacts with digital ads as an end user would to ascertain exactly what the end user will be exposed to throughout the entire flow of the ad campaign.


Learn more about how AdSecure’s industry leading ad monitoring tools help ad networks and publishers protect end users and reputations from malicious advertising violations - Contact us now!


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