White Ops, cybersecurity company that protects against ad fraud and other forms of automated threats has a new and important PSA out about ad fraud. More about 3ve and Methbot, via the Verge:
The Department of Justice has unsealed indictments against eight people who allegedly ran the infamous online advertising scams 3ve and
Methbot. The defendants, who are primarily from Russia, are accused of collecting more than $36 million from companies who thought they were paying to place ads on websites. But the ads were never seen by a human being — instead, the defendants allegedly used a server farm and a botnet to simulate billions of visits to real pages.
A press release states that three of the alleged scammers — Sergey Ovsyannikov and Yevgeniy Timchenko, who were from Kazakhstan, and Aleksandr Zhukov, who was Russian — were arrested over the past month. The other five — Boris Timokhin, Mikhail Andreev, Denis Avdeev, Dmitry Novikov, and Aleksandr Isaev — are still at large. The group allegedly ran two separate but related fraud schemes. The first,
Methbot, took in $7 million between September 2014 and December 2016.
The alleged perpetrators made deals with ad networks to place advertisements, then used rented servers to simulate having real internet users visit spoofed web pages and look at ads. The second, 3ve, apparently made $29 million between December 2015 and October 2018. It was based on similar principles, but instead of server farms, it used a full-fledged botnet comprised of 1.7 million infected computers.Via the Verge: “Eight people charged with running a multimillion-dollar online ad scam”