41-year-old Russian man has been convicted of advertising fraud


In the United States, a 41-year-old Russian man has been convicted of advertising fraud in which he defrauded companies and advertisers for millions of dollars via a bot. An Amsterdam data center played a leading role in the extensive advertising fraud.


In ad fraud, advertisers pay for impressions generated not by humans but by machines. The suspect and his henchmen pretended to be a legitimate ad network. In reality, the gang falsified websites displaying ads as well as views allegedly coming from people. In total, the criminals used more than 6,000 domains pretended to be legitimate sites.


To create the illusion that real people viewed the advertisements on these fake sites, servers in data centers in Amsterdam and Dallas were used. Methbot was active on these servers. This bot uses a fake browser to simulate the activities of internet users, such as scrolling through websites, watching and stopping videos and pretending to be logged in to Facebook.


The suspects also leased more than 650,000 IP addresses, whereby multiple IP addresses were assigned to the servers in the data centers. The suspects then registered these IP addresses on behalf of providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable, making it appear as if the IP addresses belonged to home users. The rogue ad network thus falsified billions of ad views, leading companies to pay more than $ 7 million for ads never seen by real people.


The suspect, who called himself the "king of fraud", was arrested in Bulgaria late 2018 and early 2019 in the United States extradited , as reported to the US Department of Justice. The sentence will be announced on September 17 of this year.

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