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Russian Hackers Stole Millions From Video Advertisers, According To White Ops, An Ad Fraud Co.

White Ops, an ad-fraud-detection firm, alleges that a Russian hacking operation has been defrauding online advertisers in the U.S. of more than $3 million a day. White Ops released a research report on Tuesday in which it said it found an online ad-fraud operation it calls “Methbot.” Ad fraud, which manifests in non-human traffic and bots that "view" advertising, is estimated to be a $7.2 billion problem in the ad industry. “We’ve never seen anything like this. Methbot elevates ad fraud to a whole new level of sophistication and scale,” said Michael Tiffany, co-founder and CEO of White Ops, told the Wall Street Journal. The paper reports that according to White Ops, the Methbot operation used "hundreds of servers in the U.S. and the Netherlands to create nonhuman or 'bot' traffic, and directed that traffic to load webpages featuring video ads from major advertisers, mostly ones based in the U.S." The Journal also reports that "the bot operators also created fake webpages designed to trick advertisers into believing their ads were appearing on major websites including Fox News, The Economist, ESPN, CBS Sports, The Wall Street Journal, and others. Non-human traffic, of course, is bad for advertisers not only because they're wasting media dollars but real humans don't see their ads. 

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