Russian Ring of Digital Ad Crooks Is Reportedly Making Over $3 Million a Day | Public Relations & Social Marketing Insight |

White Ops today reported that a group of Russia-based cybercriminals is stealing $3 million to $5 million daily from premium-video-focused advertisers. The fraud-fighting player discovered an extensive network of automated web browsers called Methbot, which it says consists of custom software running on data servers in Amsterdam and Dallas.

According to White Ops, Methbot runs differently than common fraud bots, which usually infect computers with malicious software that serve ads seen by zero people. The ring of fraudsters created approximately 600,000 counterfeit IP addresses that appear to be legitimate, the researchers said, by hacking into a pair of the world's regional internet registries.

The nefarious operators then registered those IP addresses to actual online service providers such as Verizon, Comcast and Spectrum (formerly Time Warner). This tactic made their faux internet activity appear genuine before commanding their bot army to generate 200 million to 300 million impressions and charging brands for premium video ads. ...