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Ad Fraud Scam: DoubleVerify Detects $8 Million a Month ‘ViperBot’ Video Ad Fraud

Ad Fraud Scam: DoubleVerify Detects $8 Million a Month ‘ViperBot’ Video Ad Fraud

Media buying company DoubleVerify said it found a sophisticated ad fraud scheme called ViperBot that attempted to steal about $8 million a month in spending on video ads.

In what’s being called a novel approach to ad fraud, criminals have been stripping out code that verifies ad impressions using the ViperBot malware. One tool they’re using to do so, called "verification redirection", uses cheap ad slots running on real devices in an attempt to prevent detection by advanced measurement companies.

"ViperBot is one of the most sophisticated fraud schemes that DV has ever identified," said Mark Zagorski, CEO at DoubleVerify.

“The dynamic nature of fraud schemes underscores the fact that advertisers need a partner who is laser-focused on protecting their interests – and who operates independently of the media transaction to remain neutral when determining the quality of inventory,” said Zagorski.

“Efficient and transparent media buying leads to better outcomes for brands. By uncovering ViperBot, we are able to give brands greater confidence in their digital investment while ensuring campaign performance.”

Verification-stripping normally causes measurement discrepancies to surface, but reinserting verification data makes it more difficult for advanced measurement companies to detect these issues.

DoubleVerify mentioned its customers have been protected against the scheme, but ViperBot continues to spoof more than 5 million devices and up to 85 million ad requests per day.

“As fraudsters continue to evolve and aggressively target high-value inventory types, measurement providers need to catch up,” said Jack Smith, chief product officer, DoubleVerify. “We’re seeing this happen in CTV and mobile inventory, where higher CPMs make it a more attractive target, but this new redirection tactic can be applied across many environments.”