Automated bots designed by hackers can get your advertised videos over 300 million views. Yes, this is actually happening to major sports networks like ESPN. This was revealed by White ops, a leading digital security firm. Their research has suggested that these hackers are earning over $3.9 million dollars a day from these activities.
White Ops has said that the operation to defraud internet advertisers is an elaborate one and involves many individuals and firms working in tandem. The hackers must have employed a lot of people and would need the services of several data centers to pull this operation off.
White ops has given a detailed explanation of their modus operandi. The hackers first hack into the PCs and laptop of individual users, get hold of all their data, IP addresses and most importantly their online behaviour. The hackers have targeted people mainly from OECD countries like the US and the UK. They were able to get this information by hacking into the servers of Internet Service Providers (ISP) like Comcast and Verizon.
The hackers have then built fake websites that play only videos. These hackers have then built bots that can mimic the activities of the hacked users and make it appear as if the traffic is coming from the IP addresses that were hacked earlier. The advertisers feel that the bots are actual viewers and become ready to advertise on the fake websites created by the hackers. This elaborate operation lets the hackers earn over $3.9 million a day.
White ops believes that the hackers are highly sophisticated and catching them red handed will be a tough task considering their expertise and the resources at their disposal. The hackers call themselves a Ad Fraud Komanda or AFK13 in short. These hackers are believed to be in an eastern European country, which makes tracking them even more difficult.