COLOGNE — In the TV series The X-Files, paranormal investigators Mulder and Scully had, at their disposal, a trio of good-guy computer hackers named The Lone Gunmen.
What if hard-pressed advertisers, also searching for a solution, could call on such a squad, too?
That would probably look a lot like White Ops, a group of do-good hackers that now trains its skills toward advertisers’ fight against online fraudsters.
Ad-tech clients like video platform Videology have hired the group, whose founder once formed a hacker collective called Ninjas.org but which this week took a new $20 million funding raise, to take on ad fraud crooks.
“The reason why everybody’s getting their computers compromised is because bad guys can make money doing so,” says that man, Michael Tiffany, who has designed and developed cyber security and connectivity solutions in high-speed fiber, U.S. Government, and banking industries, in this video interview with Beet.TV.
“Our adversaries, botnet operators, install their malware … there’s an invisible browser in the background … the guys sell (fake) visits.”
The company’s products include FraudSensor and MediaGuard. Tiffany has previously told Beet.TV botnets are like “a robot army of regular consumers”, instigating artificial clicks on ads their pages serve. White Ops’ techniques seek to thwart such activities.
MediaPost reports: “(White Ops’) new funds will be used primarily to develop its marketplace with suppliers that want to demonstrate the integrity of the audiences they are guaranteeing to advertisers.”
Those suppliers include TubeMogul, but White Ops has also been working – covertly, of course, with Videology to take down the botmasters.
“We began our work in secret,” Tiffany tells us. “We worked on a complex botnet counter-offensive for about a year before unveiling it to the rest of the world. Videology was on the forefront of taking on fraud.
“We wrote a brand new viewability capability from the ground up that’s pro-privacy, pro-user, very low-impact. When we started, there was no third-party standard for fraud detection. There was no third-party referee. Now there’s an MRC standard, but they were able to move faster than standardisation.”
This interview was taped at DMEXCO ’16. It is part of a video series of industry leaders. The series is sponsored by Videology. For more Beet.TV coverage of DMEXCO, please visit this page.