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Google's caped crusaders are fighting organised crime every day

I think some Google employees are as close to becoming Batman as anyone. Stay with me here, I can explain.

The people I'm about to describe don't have the Batmobile and can't glide around above the city's rooftops, but they do work in a 'cave', they fight organised crime and they must keep their identities a secret. Almost sounds like Batman, am I right?

Those people are part of Google's team fighting ad fraud, and that is some serious business, as it can cost Google billions of dollars. Yes, Campaign Live said late last year that ad fraud could cost brands as much as £6.5 billion ($10.1 billion) in wasted spending each year, and with Google being the world's biggest seller of online ads, that's a huge issue.

On the other hands, criminals take serious amounts of money out of the advertising ecosystem by generating millions of false clicks on ads.

AdAge was granted access to the team that fights this organised digital crime, and it says that because ad fraud is essentially a form of organised crime, many people asked to be referred to by only their first names.

One Russian engineer, Sasha, said: "Because it is part of organised crime, I'm guessing it would not be a friendly environment for the people that speak out against it."

The team works in what they call a "dungeon," scanning malware binary, looking for patterns and raking the forums used by fraudsters for clues as to where the bad actors originate.

They also look for "signals" - a type of behaviour inadvertently created by fraudsters when they program a bot that can help the engineers identify the traffic.

AdAge goes into further detail explaining the work the team does, how they do it and what they encounter on a day-to-day basis. You can check out the full article here.