A leading digital security firm, White ops, has said that some Russian companies have managed to trick web advertising algorithms into believing that their videos are being watched by real users, thus cheating them of $3.9 million a day.
These hackers have gotten information of user behavior by hacking into the PCs of individual users and have mimicked the same behavior all over their websites. This lets the advertiser feel that the people visiting the website are real users. The hackers have been successful in showing that these users are from good OECD countries, i.e. they are from the US or the UK. This was again done illegally by hacking the information from Comcast and Verizon and other Internet Service providers.
These hackers have then managed to build some fake websites that do nothing other than hosting videos. With this happening, the Methbots, are able to attract ads from advertisers and play them continuously on their website. These viewers are nothing but Bots created by these hackers. This operation nets advertisers 300 million views and costs them upto $3.9 million views per day.
This is truly a complex operation and a highly elaborate fraud that would need the services of an advanced data centre and a lot of employees. White ops believes that these hackers have to be some highly sophisticated hackers with some amount of experience in digital advertising. Also, the team would be highly organized and sophisticated as this operation would require a lot of programmers. All this must have cost the programmers a few hundred thousand Dollars per day.
The hackers would also need 6000 fake domains to confuse the advertisers and over quarter of a million websites to play their videos. The hackers who call themselves Ad Fraud Komanda or AFK13 has been at this for quite sometime and is rumoured to be in an European country. Beating these frauds will be challenging as they are experts at what they do and are evolving rapidly.