The Biggest Bot Network

Digital advertising may have just suffered its biggest bot attack yet - and it may have cost enterprises millions. 

Adtech company Adform has announced the discovery of an advanced ad fraud scheme it has named "Hyphbot," which involves the creation of more than 1 million unique URLs and 34,000 domain names to trick advertisers into believing they're purchasing quality inventory from publishers.

These aren't small or mid-size publishers but some of the largest and most prestigious outlets including CNN, The Economist and The Wall Street Journal. 

The scheme is "likely the biggest bot network" to ever affect the digital ad industry according to Adform. In fact, Hyphbot may be four times the size of the Methobot network that was discovered less than one year ago and generating nearly $500,000 each day for the perpetrators.

Adform revealed that the inventory targeted was predominantly video and that the primary activity began in August.

The company advised all demand- and supply-side platforms (DSPs and SSPs) to check for patterns highlighted within the report (PDF) within their data warehouses and investigate cookie requests from those who visited within those patents, and to shut down any non-transparent source.