Methbot: a $3M-$5M/day video ad-tech fraud


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/21/methbot-a-3m-5mday-video-a.html


#2

Methbot sounds like the maker’s answers to fresh meth in the morning.

“Now with a built in alarm you can wake up with fresh bedside meth. Mmmmmm wake up with MethBot!”


#3

Gosh, the corporations that spend millions coming up with clever, sneaky, devious technologies to ferret out and monetize information about me have been getting scammed by clever, sneaky, devious technologies that turn their own methods against them – without me being involved at all. I’m outraged!


#4

Yes, I too am outraged as well. How can I help Methbot?


#5

So these guys are like viruses parasitizing fecal bacteria.

Scratch that, fecal bacteria are mostly benign. Viruses parasitizing flesh eating bacteria.


#6

I used to know a heavy meth-head who would, each night, place a loaded meth syringe next to the bed before going to sleep. In the morning, he’d wake up, shoot up, then go straight back to sleep.

He’d get woken up by withdrawal, and his tolerance was such that it pretty much took a dose to get him back to “normal”.


#7
  1. I must have missed the point. They have virtual users… watching virtual ads… and somebody pays them real money?

  2. ???

  3. Profit!


#8

One step closer to the advertising singularity.


#9

Hoist on their own petard and all that, however…

One of the big selling points of the internet age is the ability to start a company for next to nothing, and then find customers online. 20 years ago there was simply no way a specialty olive oil store could have survived and thrived in my small town of 5000 people, yet now there is one - which makes much of its income from online orders. Advertising something like that was prohibitively costly in the past, and therefore would never have happened.

So methbot is faking video and ad views, and ultimately bilking the advertising buyers. Google and Facebook still get their cut, but the small (and big) time business owners get screwed by having to pay for advertising.that is viewed and clicked on only by bots. I speak from personal experience at pouring more than a few advertising dollars into the maws of Facebook and Google. The notion that I was paying to feed a botnet is terrible (and may help to explain why a good product was not getting a decent ROI for online advertising).

This actually worries me, as there is little to stop this sort of thing from happening in ongoing iterations. I suppose the big companies will be able to price it in, but the little people will again be left to fend for ourselves.


#10

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/


#11

One of my brother-in-laws has been struggling with meth for 10 years now. It has devastated his life and anyone in his proximity. Evil stuff.


#12

Man, if this “working” thing doesn’t pan out, I’m going to have to take up cybercrime.


#13
  1. They then charge advertisers to show ads to the very attractive virtual users they’ve created - the advertisers think they’re real people with tons of real world info (so valuable rats) on real sites.

They go through the elaborate charade because click / view fraud is so prevalent there are many third party auditors that try to verify that the real users are real, but Methbot spoofs all the usual fraud detecting behaviors like being active at the right time of day, moving the ‘mouse’ like a human would, etc.


#14

It’s also bad for users of all web sites, because advertisers will install even more intrusive detection schemes to discriminate between real humans and bots. My web browsing is slow and crashy enough already. It’s going to get worse.


#15

I had to do a triple-take at the pdf.
IIRC: Register domains as part of target audience (AOL, Comcast; notes in t3h acrobat) IP group, be the main responsive premium video user there, be the all-ads chumpsite ‘channel’ publisher who gets paid for producing more, ???, get paid just like Forbes EMEA would have had because same.

Same is its own sentence, isn’t it? Unsure…


#16

Maybe something like that sugar fusing 3D printer Mark had… Just fill the bed full of crystal meth and Methbot will print any shape you want!


#17

I assume the bacteria in this analogy are meant to be the Facebooks, Googles and other ad networks? Because the companies that are primarily losing out to these scams are those who have products they need to advertise, rather than the ad networks themselves.


#18

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#19

They have no jobs or companies in Russia? Citation needed.


#20

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