Google and the FBI have at last caught up with the criminal masterminds behind 3ve, one of the largest cybercrimes ever to take place. First appearing in 2016, the hackers behind 3ve created fake online advertisements clicked on by bots and then stole the millions of pounds of advertising money that was generated. In a world where advertising cybercrime is becoming more common, our digital fraud specialists can help protect your business.
What was 3ve?
3ve (pronounced ‘eve’) was a complex mix of ad-fraud and click-fraud. Posing as a legitimate advertising company, the criminals at 3ve infected more than 1.7 million computers with malware, allowing them to create a vast network of fake websites, online ads and bots (web robots). Genuine advertisers paid for the fake ads, which generated more than US$36 million for the criminals before law enforcement finally found them. So far, eight people from Russia and Kazakhstan have been indicted.
The full, published report can be found here.
What are ad-fraud and click-fraud?
Ad-fraud and click-fraud are both types of online fraud. Ad-fraud happens when advertisers are tricked into paying for fake traffic or clicks. Click-fraud uses bots to click on ads. This is worthless to advertisers as no human being has actually seen the ad. Large sums of advertising revenue are then diverted to the criminals. Both types of fraud are highly sophisticated and difficult to detect and they’re becoming more and more common. In fact, it is estimated that advertisers will lose US$19 billion to this kind of fraud before the end of the year.
Ad-fraud and click-fraud: what can you do?
If you’re an advertiser looking to promote your products online, choose a trusted platform like the Google DFP (DoubleClick For Publishes) or verify the platform you are using by checking for the ads yourself.
If you’re a web user, the 3ve attack started when people unwittingly downloaded malware onto their computers so here are some basic ways you can protect your business:
- Install antivirus software
- Don’t click on links you’re unsure of
- Change your passwords often
- Install anti-malware software
- Keep your operating system up-to-date
How Blackhawk Intelligence can help can you
Organised crime is moving online. If you have any kind of online advertising on your website, you could become a victim of ad-fraud. It’s hard to spot and the potential rewards for criminals are enormous. Blackhawk’s digital fraud services can help you spot this kind of fraud before it affects your business. We can:
- Conduct investigations
- Provide staff training
- Help you create protective digital strategies
- Trace stolen assets
Blackhawk’s digital fraud services can help you spot this kind of fraud before it affects your business. To find out more about the types of fraud you could be at risk of falling victim to, get in touch on +44 (0)20 8108 9317 or fill out our Online Form.
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