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Ad Tech Organized Crime

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An entire ecosystem set up to support fraud. There are no laws against ad fraud; but other laws may apply. Time to take a closer look.

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Ad Tech Organized Crime

  1. 1. October 2019 / Page 0marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Ad. Tech. Organized. Crime. October 2019 Augustine Fou, PhD. acfou [at]
  2. 2. October 2019 / Page 1marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Who am I? • I am a digital marketer of 23+ years • I study digital ad fraud • I help clients audit campaigns for fraud that gets by verification tech • I show clients the data, teach them how to find/reduce fraud themselves
  3. 3. October 2019 / Page 2marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Counterfeit goods Fakes or unauthorized replicas of the real product ad impressions shown to bots/software not to humans ad fraud
  4. 4. October 2019 / Page 3marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Computer crimes Hacking, malware, ransomware, drive-by cryptomining containing-ad-fraud-malware-downloaded-102m-times/
  5. 5. October 2019 / Page 4marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Securities fraud Deceptive practice of inducing investors with false information • Revenues derived from illegal activities • Inflating revenue, profits through ad fraud • Overstating subscribers, active users, ARPU • Selling counterfeit services and products • Misrepresenting the capabilities of services, products
  6. 6. October 2019 / Page 5marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Illegal Interception Keystroke logging to harvest logins, passwords, personal info Source: Freedom to Tinker, Nov 2017 privacy-bill-to-restrict-data-harvesting
  7. 7. October 2019 / Page 6marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Data interference Alteration or suppression of computer data Buzzfeed, March 2018 Source: fi-mo-cookie-stuffing-ebay-20130419 “Laguna Niguel man pleads guilty in 'cookie stuffing' scam against Ebay. The online auctioneer paid Dunning’s company about $5.2 million in 2006 and 2007, the U.S. Attorney said.”
  8. 8. October 2019 / Page 7marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Forgery, falsified profiles Unverifiable lookalike audiences contain fake profiles/preferences Bots pretend to be oncologists by visiting oncology related sites. “[LOTAME] purged 400 million of its over 4 billion profiles after identifying them as bots.” Adweek, Feb 2018
  9. 9. October 2019 / Page 8marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Criminal impersonation Fake accounts pretending to be politicians, celebrities
  10. 10. October 2019 / Page 9marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Piracy/Mass Infringement Large numbers of cloned sites containing 100% pirated content Mass infringement sites use pirated content to attract human visitors - Show ads - Attempt to hack them or track them
  11. 11. October 2019 / Page 10marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Illegal Access / Breaches Harvesting personal info, ecommerce transactions, other data BreachesIllegal Access 877/data-breach/the-biggest-data- breaches-of-the-21st-century.html
  12. 12. October 2019 / Page 11marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Aggravated identity theft Stolen personal info can be sold, and also later used in hacking your-personal-information-is-selling-for-on-the-dark-web/ Data Prices on the Dark Web ebook-ukraine-hackers/index.html
  13. 13. October 2019 / Page 12marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Wire fraud Knowingly misrepresenting the capabilities of the … technology “Allegedly engaged in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud investors, as well as a doctors and patients. charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud. Holmes and Balwani were accused of knowingly misrepresenting the capabilities of Theranos' proprietary blood testing technology. The two allegedly knew there were "accuracy and reliability problems," and that it "could not compete with existing, more conventional machines," the US Attorney's office said.” holmes-indicted-theranos/index.html detection-doesnt-work detection-tech-over-representing-what/
  14. 14. October 2019 / Page 13marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Money laundering Dollars are laundered as digital media ad spend on “cash out” sites 1. Buy and place digital ads on sites and apps controlled by the same entity 2. Collect dollars from “cash out” sites, fully laundered
  15. 15. October 2019 / Page 14marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Online child abuse images “Using a variety of sophisticated techniques to avoid detection, offenders are exploiting online advertising networks to monetise their distribution of child sexual abuse material.” Source: The Drum Nov 6, 2018 Source: CNN, Feb 2019 Source: NYT, Sep 2019
  16. 16. October 2019 / Page 15marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. About the Author Augustine Fou, PhD. acfou [@]
  17. 17. October 2019 / Page 16marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. Dr. Augustine Fou – Researcher 2013 2014 Published slide decks and posts: 2016 2015 2017 20192018