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

DoubleVerify said it detected a sophisticated ad fraud scheme called “ViperBot” that attempted to steal more than $8 million a month in spending on connected TV and mobile video ads.


"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 independent 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.”

Also: $6 Million a Month Screensaver CTV Fraud Caught by DoubleVerify

Using ViperBot, criminals strip the code that verifies ad impressions. ViperBot also relies on a new tactic, discovered by DoubleVerify called “verification redirection,” in which the tags are reinserted on cheap ad slots running on real devices in an attempt to prevent detection.

Verification stripping normally causes measurement discrepancies that can be detected by advanced measurement companies, but the reinsertion makes that more difficult.

Also: DoubleVerify Finds CTV Ads Running with TV Set Turned Off

DoubleVerify said 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.” ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.