Spotad’s AI technology detects illegal Bitcoin mining through its ads; a discovery that can ensure the security of adtech databases worldwide from future Bitcoin mining breaches or attacks
TEL AVIV – Spotad, the AI mobile advertising company, discovered bitcoin miners’ attempts to mine for digital coins using its adtech database. This is part of a much larger trend wherein that bitcoins miners are looking for alternative ways to create currency through illegal avenues. As the first adtech company in the industry to detect bitcoin hackers and disarm them, Spotad successfully prevented any damage to the custom-made algorithms and ads Spotad provides.
Spotad’s powerful real-time media buying platform, along with Sarah, Spotad’s AI system, identified a new mining code-named Monero Crypto, which disguised itself as a banner ad on both desktop and mobile devices. It discovered that the new miner’s code was running on Java Script enabled ad placements, that allowed the miners to use other mobile and desktop device resources for coin mining processing. By sending ad block pop-ups as a way to bait their prey, the pop-ups asked users to run a mining process that is designed to gain the user’s trust and consent, allowing them to mine for Crypto Currency on their central processing unit. Spotad’s technology identified the intrusion allowing them to speedily remove the miners and the threat they posed.
This episode is actually part of a much larger issue. Recently, Bitcoin-based cyber attacks have targeted remote computers at companies for mining operations. According to the MIT Technology Review, “Mining is an intensive process that computers comprising a cryptocurrency network complete to verify the transaction record, called the blockchain, and receive digital coins in return.” The purpose of these kinds of attacks is to give website owners a way to make money, without displaying ads. Bitcoin Hackers often hijack computers, using another company’s hard-won networks, databases, and clientele, similar to Adtech companies, and exploit the most vulnerable to mine
Spotad’s ability to detect this new digital commodity, and its unknown risks, showcases the company’s capabilities to adapt to an ever-changing tech landscape. With the recent uptick in Bitcoin-based cyber attacks targeting remote computers, Spotad highlights the vulnerabilities that many companies are now facing.The knowledge it acquired during this episode will enable consumers and ad tech companies to become more aware and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves in the future.
“With the growing hype around Bitcoin and Blockchain, it wasn’t a surprise that advertisers would try to get a ride and generate a new revenue stream out of the latest tech trend,” says Tomer Horev, CSO of Spotad. “Needless to say, that in this scenario the miners had no interest in advertising here, their goal is just sheer gain for the media buyer made possible through other viewers devices.”
Founded in May 2015, Spotad is a mobile advertising technology company using AI technology. Spotad employs 50 enthusiastic professionals globally, with its HQ in Israel and three operating offices in the US, the UK, and China. Spotad enjoys revenues in the tens of millions of dollars and expects to keep its significant growth through 2017. The company received $3.5 million in Series A funding, and is the first Western DSP to enter China, offering clients access to this lucrative market. Spotad is lead by serial entrepreneurs Sagiv Ben Shaul (Co-Founder and CEO), Yoav Oz (Co-Founder), Tal Maizels (CTO) and Tomer Horev (CSMO).