Fast Company

01 FOR LEADING THE FBI TO ITS BIGGEST AD-FRAUD BUST EVER

Tamer Hassan COFOUNDER AND CEO, WHITE OPS

THIS WAS NO ORDINARY BOTNET.

On a February day in 2017, Tamer Hassan was going about his typical work of monitoring advertising-buying and -selling software for potential security issues when he noticed something strange. Hassan, the cofounder and then CTO of ad-fraud detection and prevention company White Ops, had been tracking a smallish botnet—the term for a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled by criminals without the owners’ knowledge—and realized that it had suddenly transformed into a hydra that simply wouldn’t die.

When deployed in advertising, a botnet (“robot” + “network”) creates fake websites and uses automated software to pose as real humans and simulate real traffic—siphoning money from companies such as P&G, Unilever, and other big marketers that spend more than $250 billion annually on digital advertising globally, much of it mediated by software

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