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Collaborating to fight ad fraud


Credit: Google’s Whitepaper on 3VE

In 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigations met with more than 20 cybersecurity and digital advertising experts in its Manhattan office: The topic: Collaborate to take down the massive ad fraud scheme known as 3VE (or Eve).

Now Google and cybersecurity firm White Ops have released a white paper (PDF) detailing the collaboration and how they tracked down a scheme that, at its peak, more than 1 million IPs from residential and corporate botnet infections. It’s an amazing tale and reads almost like a spy novel.

Ad fraud is a $19 billion issue this year and will grow past $40 billion in the next two years. It hurts consumers - who hasn’t coached a family member to NOT click on that Amazon gift-card offer? - advertisers, publishers and networks.

Our aim at is to raise awareness of this nefarious issue, and to help protect consumers and publishers through education and large-scale collaborations. As we’re fond of saying, if there’s no reason for us to exist in 3-5 years, we’ll be the happiest people on the planet.

Kudos to the FBI, Google, Amazon, Adobe, and the 20-some other companies that played a role in this effort. Onward.

Rusty Coats