About the author : Michael Lafferty

Eight men have been indicted by the U.S. Justice Department, accused of a sprawling campaign of advertising fraud that utilized nearly two million hijacked computer systems and hundreds of servers across dozens of datacenters worldwide, costing advertising networks tens of millions in payments for ad views that never reached a human eye. A Massive Criminal Undertaking Operating under the codename “3ve,” the fraud scheme was massive in scope and complicated in execution. First detected in 2017, the exact beginnings are uncertain, but it is highly likely the botnet was operating for a significant amount of time earlier than initial discovery. The plot made use of a network of hijacked devices infected through the typical methods: attachments in trapped emails and mislabeled downloads scattered throughout the Internet. The exact size, scope, and location of the botnet and the servers managing it shifted constantly, making it much harder to pin down and…