“JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED” IN 10-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE FOR CREATOR OF METHBOT AD FRAUD OPERATION, SAYS TAG
TAG Praises Department of Justice for Leadership and Collaboration with Industry in Developing Case, Shares Pre-Sentencing Letter Sent by TAG CEO
Washington, DC – November 12, 2021 – The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an advertising industry initiative to fight criminal activity and strengthen brand safety in the digital advertising supply chain, issued the following statement on the sentencing this week of Aleksandr Zhukovby United States District Judge Eric R. Komitee to 10 years’ imprisonment for his role in creating and leading the “Methbot” ad fraud operation.
“Justice has been served,” said TAG CEO Mike Zaneis. “This lengthy sentence sends a worldwide message to ad fraud criminals that the US government is making it a priority to find them, prosecute them, and send them to jail. We are deeply grateful for the leadership and collaboration of the US Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and New York Police Department in bringing Mr. Zhukov to justice. We also are also indebted to the TAG member companies who helped expose this fraud operation, shared their threat intelligence with their industry peers, and provided that critical information to law enforcement to assist with their investigations.”
TAG also released a letter that it sent to the US Attorney’s office prior to sentencing that provided background on the impact of Zhukov’s crimes and encourage the Court to “treat this case with the same gravity as past fraud cases and to issue a sentence that matches the severity of the crime.”
As the advertising industry’s only Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO), TAG established the TAG Threat Exchange to facilitate the sharing of intelligence about new and emerging threats with hundreds of companies across the industry.Through that forum, TAG has helped its members disseminate information and partner with peers to dismantle several major fraud operations, including ICEBUCKET, Hydra/Terracota, and Streamscan.
TAG has also worked behind the scenes with law enforcement agencies to educate their teams about threats facing the digital ad supply chain, assist with ongoing investigations and lead industry education. As part of that effort, TAG and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) released a joint white paper earlier this year, “Best Practices for Working with Law Enforcement,” offering information and advice to the ad industry based on the organizations’ close and effective work together.
About the Trustworthy Accountability Group
The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is the global certification program designed to fight against criminal activity and protect brand safety in the digital advertising industry. TAG advances its mission of eliminating fraudulent traffic, facilitating the sharing of threat intelligence, and promoting brand safety by connecting industry leaders, analyzing threats, and sharing best practices worldwide. The 700+ member TAG community includes the world's largest and most influential brands, agencies, publishers, and ad tech providers. For more information on TAG, please visit tagtoday.net.
I am writing to you regarding the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021, for Aleksandr Zhukov in the “Methbot” advertising fraud case.
Advertising fraud (ad fraud) is the scourge of the global digital economy. Bank robbers used to steal from banks “because that was where the money was”, but as the business world transitioned from brick and mortar to an electronic base of operations, cybercriminal rings formed to exploit new vulnerabilities. This new breed of criminal focused primarily on the financial services industry and their customers through cyberattacks aimed at stealing people’s identities in order to transact billions of dollars in fraudulent activity. Today, these same criminal organizations now focus their efforts on impersonating real people in order to steal billions of dollars in advertising spend. Their efforts are just as nefarious and economically damaging as the bank robbers of old and modern-day identity thieves. We urge the court to treat this case with the same gravity as past fraud cases and to issue a sentence that matches the severity of the crime.