Device ID Reset Fraud

In iOS 6, Apple discontinued access to the Unique Device Identifier (UDID) because it gave advertisers complete control over the distribution of a user’s app activity. Apple replaced it with the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). The IDFA could be reset by the user at any time, as well as allow users to limit the tracking of their identifier. Essentially, this meant users could dump their old identities for new ones whenever they wanted, allowing them to control their own privacy. Google added the same capabilities with their IDFA equivalent, GAID.

Unfortunately, this power was also given to malicious fraudsters. They could leverage this IDFA dumping to perform installation fraud by installing an app, interacting with it, resetting their IDFA, deleting the app, and reinstalling it to simulate an install from a completely new device.

At Branch, we have an identity graph that connects a user’s IDFA to a browser cookie, which means that we can track illegitimate app installs when we see a persona with one browser cookie installing with hundreds of different IDFAs. Branch is the only attribution provider that has an extensive identity database that can be leveraged for this level of fraud protection.

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