Russian hackers have used fake websites and bots to steal millions of dollars from advertisers. According to researchers, the fraud has siphoned more than $180 million from the online ad industry. CNNMoney reports: Dubbed “Methbot, ” it is a new twist in an increasingly complex world of online crime, according to White Ops, the cybersecurity firm that discovered the operation. Methbot, so nicknamed because the fake browser refers to itself as the “methbrowser, ” operates as a sham intermediary advertising ring: Companies would pay millions to run expensive video ads. Then they would deliver those ads to what appeared to be major websites. In reality, criminals had created more than 250, 000 counterfeit web pages no real person was visiting. White Ops first spotted the criminal operation in October, and it is making up to $5 million per day — by generating up to 300 million fake “video impressions” daily. According to White Ops, criminals acquired massive blocks of IP addresses — 500, 000 of them — from two of the world’s five major internet registries. Then they configured them so that they appeared to be located all over the United States. They built custom software so that computers (at those legitimate data centers) acted like real people viewing those ads. These “people” even appeared to have Facebook accounts (they didn’t), so that premium ads were served. Hackers fooled ad fraud blockers because they figured out how to build software that mimicked a real person who only surfed during the daytime — using the Google Chrome web browser on a Macbook laptop. Read more of this story at Slashdot.