Online advertising “fraud king” has been condemned

Aleksandr Zhukov, a Russian citizen and self-proclaimed “king of fraud”, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for running a $7 million digital advertising fraud scheme.

On his computer keyboard in Bulgaria and Russia, Zhukov plotted and executed an elaborate multi-million dollar scam against the digital advertising industry, deceiving thousands of businesses.

Around 2014, Zhukov and his co-conspirators released a fraudulent advertising company called Media Methane, which received payments from ad networks to present online advertisements to Internet users.

However, instead of placing these ads on publishers’ own web pages as promised, Zhukov and others have rented thousands of servers located in data centers, and they used these servers to simulate humans viewing advertisements on fabricated web pages.

Zhukov and his partners – seven people who are being sued separately – would have rented more than 2,000 servers in data centers in Dallas (United States) and Amsterdam (Netherlands).

Aleksandr Zhukov

 

Methane media allegedly offered advertising space on fabricated web pages to ad buyers who bid on the space. But the company was showing these ads to an audience of bots.

Bots are designed to interact with fake web pages to simulate realistic mouse movements and interactions, such as displaying videos on social media. They have been trained to ignore CAPTCHAs, accept cookies and fake login to social media services.

Your code managed to bypass fraud detection software used by several cybersecurity companies across the United States.

To make fraud more trustworthy, Zhukov leased more than 765,000 IP addresses, which he then assigned to servers at the centers and entered a worldwide registry of IP addresses. By falsely registering IP addresses in the names of companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, Zhukov led people to believe that the addresses belonged to US residential Internet subscribers of those services.

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Among the victims of this scam, who have been defrauded of more than $7 million, are the New York Times, The New York Post, Comcast, Nestlé Purina, the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and Time Warner Cable.

According to the government, Zhukov personally earned more than $4.8 million through the advertising fraud scheme.

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