New figures show that up to $5 million/day is being claimed by an ad fraud scam that is being run by Russian cyber criminals. According to White Ops, a US cyber security company that specializes in fraud detection technology, they have detected the “single most profitable bot operation to date.”
Methbot is able to scam more than double the amount of money when compared to previous bots that performed similarly. Methbot identifies and targets programmatic video ads, and generates millions of fake views on real advertisements.
In order to accomplish such a large score, the criminal organization utilized roughly 250,000 fake websites that were stored on servers owned by Methbot. The organization also created and used more than 500,000 fake users to mimic actual users in order to create 300 million video ad impressions per day.
According to a whitepaper put out by White Ops, “This operation produces massive volumes of fraudulent video advertising impressions by commandeering critical parts of internet infrastructure and targeting the premium video advertising space. Using an army of automated web browsers run from fraudulently acquired IP addresses, the Methbot operation is ‘watching’ as many as 300 million video ads per day on falsified websites designed to look like premium publisher inventory. More than 6,000 premium domains were targeted and spoofed, enabling the operation to attract millions in real advertising dollars.”
Michael Tiffany, CEO and co-founder of White Ops, stated “The most expensive advertising on the internet is full-sized video ads, on name brand sites, shown to users who are logged into social media and who show signs of ‘engagement’. The Russian operators behind Methbot targeted the most profitable ad categories and publishers.” Tiffany continued, “They built their infrastructure and tools and compromised key pieces of architectural Internet systems to maximize their haul. Methbot is a game changer in ad fraud and further evidence that the issue of human verification is constantly evolving and innovating, not abating.”