First in the Field: Ahead of the Adversary and a Milestone for the Industry

Today White Ops announced that we are the first company to receive accreditation for pre-bid sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) mitigation across all platforms by the Media Ratings Council (MRC). This makes us the first platform to be accredited by the MRC for end-to-end coverage against SIVT on desktop, mobile web, mobile in-app, and Connected TV (CTV).

This means we’ve been recognized for giving our Advertising Integrity customers the most comprehensive protection from ad fraud and abuse in the advertising ecosystem.

Everything we do here at White Ops is driven by one single goal: to disrupt the economics of cybercrime. This is not an inspirational quote for us, it is our North Star. It’s the guiding principle that gets each one of us out of bed in the morning to protect our customers and to protect the internet. This new MRC rating validates our mission: we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. We have the results. 


Why You Should Care

The MRC has been a staunch ally in this fight to stop ad fraud, pushing for more accountability of the industry and stronger standards. We have been supportive from the start, becoming the first company to receive accreditation from MRC for SIVT detection in 2016. We have continued to engage with them, extending our accreditations and continually adding more capabilities. 

These accreditations are crucial for us to show you—yes, you–that we are what we say we are. We meet the standards you set for your business, and we exceed them. With these new end-to-end accreditations, we just set the bar higher for the entire advertising industry. 

We are thrilled to help MRC set the standard for CTV accreditation as the first to receive the validation. It’s no surprise that CTV and mobile in particular are rife with fraud; there are few standards to keep things in check. This is punctuated by the sheer amount of fraud we uncovered in 2020 alone: 

  • At its peak, the ICEBUCKET operation impersonated more than 2 million people in over 30 countries. The operation counterfeited over 300 different publishers, stealing advertising spend by tricking advertisers into thinking there were real people on the other side of the screen, when in reality, these were bots pretending to be real people watching TV.
  • TERRACOTTA was a series of apps promising free products for downloaders, only to never send the products and instead installing malware on their phones to commit ad fraud in the background of their devices. This scheme was so intricate, we provided an additional technical study for the cybersecurity community to learn from this scheme. Additionally, Google sent out a notification to all devices that downloaded those apps from the Play Store urging users to delete it. 
  • CHARTREUSEBLUR was another series of apps, mostly photo editing ones, that would load out-of-context (OOC) ads onto devices. When people tried to delete the app, they mysteriously couldn’t find it because the app had removed the icon from the device while still loading up ads. It made it nearly impossible for the average consumer to delete.
  • RAINBOWMIX was a series of 240+ Android apps that were engaging in deceptive behavior by using OOC ads. These apps make it appear that ads are actually coming from popular applications and social media platforms including Youtube and Chrome. The RAINBOWMIX assortment of apps garnered more than 14 million downloads, and at its peak had more than 15 million ad impressions per day.

Not to mention, we already released our first investigation of 2021: CopyCatz was a series of 164 apps that all mimicked notable apps to garner downloads. And downloads they got: a modest 10 million downloads. All of this to trick the user into seeing OOC ads, and profit off advertisers’ budgets.

Our Advertising Integrity clients are protected against all of these operations and aided in creating defenses that had ripple effects throughout the industry - whether you work with White Ops or not. Without this level of detection and protection, enterprises are left falling victim to a costly game of whack-a-mole.

“Pre-bid is a difference-maker for FreeWheel, and indicative of our focus on trust and standards,” said Carl Kalapesi, COO at FreeWheel. “White Ops is an industry leader in fraud prevention – ever expanding their capabilities across platforms, and rooting out non-human aspects of the ecosystem to stop fraud in its tracks and give our industry confidence that every impression is real.”


Fighting Fraud is More Than a Feature

Fraudsters are well-funded and constantly evolving, requiring a focused approach to keep up with them. It’s not enough for your fraud protection to be but one part of a large list of measurement metrics. You deserve more from your fraud protection. 

Fraud isn’t a measurement issue, it’s a cybersecurity issue. The industry continues to find new ways to reach audiences digitally and advertisers continue to invest in channels with increased spending to engage with them. But, with every advertising destination comes a wave of fraudsters looking to steal some of that spend. This is why we work so hard to constantly innovate and invest in our capabilities to defeat them and better protect our customers. 

This accreditation further validates our commitment to our customers and the industry to protect them from the cybercriminals like no other. We continue to deliver on our mission every day to disrupt the economies of cybercrime with ad fraud as our flagship use case. We are excited that the MRC has again recognized our efforts and we look forward to continuing to push the industry forward in the fight against fraud and abuse in digital advertising.