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FBI to hacking victims: No one is coming to save you

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In March, we presented findings of our study on how digital ad fraud is victimizing local news sites and their users at the Local Online Advertising Conference in New York. Our preliminary report will be released in conjunction with the Local Media Association’s Revenue Summit April 22-23 in Chicago.

Our presentation (available here) began with the call to action for local news providers to protect their revenues, their brands and their communities - because no one is coming to save you.

A bit dramatic, sure, but absolutely accurate. Local, county and state law enforcement more often than not lack the expertise and bandwidth to address consumers affected by ad fraud, malware, ransomware and other exploits. And the cost to news providers affected by it does not rise to the level required to solicit federal law enforcement attention.

And here’s the FBI saying just that in an Associated Press story, particularly in victims targeted by Russian spies targeted the 2016 election. From the article:

“The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General said that advisory letters typically sent by the FBI to victims of cybercrime were almost never issued in ‘national security cyber cases,’ echoing a 2017 Associated Press report that found the FBI was routinely failing to warn targets of Russian hackers that their personal emails were under threat.”

All sides in the digital content and advertising industry must band together to address this issue on a global level. Every player in the ecosystem bears responsibility. Because, apparently, the cavalry is not coming.

Rusty Coats