Hackers Set Up Ad-Watching Network to Make $3M to $5M Daily

Media // Web Services

Hackers built an elaborate network of robot browsers to view video ads, making the group behind it approximately $3 million to $5 million every 24 hours, according to a report.

Security firm White Ops released a report on a bot farm named Methbot, which it called “the largest and most profitable ad fraud operation to strike digital advertising to date.”  

The report alleges the Russia-based hackers opted to build out infrastructure to support their ad scam instead of using the more traditional route of infecting computers with malware. Their network includes 800 to 1,200 servers in the U.S. and the Netherlands with more than 570,000 forged IPs, 6,100-plus spoofed domains and 250,000-plus URLs.

To view the ads, the hackers created automated web browsers that supply fake clicks, mouse movements and social media logins.

The network spoofed sites like ESPN, Vogue and Fox News, in effect stealing the money those publishers could be making from the ads. Though detected in September 2015, White Ops said activity significantly ramped up in October.