DEVCON: How This Atlanta-Based Startup Is Combating Ad Fraud

By Dan Anderson ● December 26, 2018

Cybercrime has caused ads to become exploited, hijacked, spoofed, and manipulated — which takes money away from publishers and advertisers. Atlanta, Georgia-based cybersecurity company DEVCON has become known for combating the $19 billion ad fraud and theft problems. Plus DEVCON made a couple of big announcements over the last week.

DEVCON revealed that it has raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by Las Olas VC. Individual investors Dr. Paul Judge (TechSquare Labs co-founder and executive chairman of Pindrop) and Adam Ghetti (Ionic Security founder) also participated in this round. In the announcement, Dr. Judge explained he is excited about the approach DEVCON is taking to detect and block ad-based malware and fraud to make the Internet safer.

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“As cyber criminals realize they can use the ad infrastructure to launch all sorts of attacks, this is no longer an ad fraud problem, it’s become a backdoor problem,” said DEVCON co-founder and CEO Maggie Louie in a statement. “Everyone who looks at websites or apps with ads, regardless of device (smartphone, tablet, desktop etc.), is vulnerable to a whole host of cyber threats that are using the ad highway as a backroad for bad code. DEVCON is on a mission to eliminate these threats, and we are grateful to our investors supporting us in this important work.”

DEVCON’s platform is able to trace fraudulent activity back to the source. And its software is created by the top white hat hackers in the industry. And recently, DEVCON’s technology helped law enforcement facilitate the first-ever felony conviction for online ad theft and money laundering, which led to a four-year prison sentence.

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Dean Hatton, the founding partner of Las Olas VC, said that the DEVCON team built a unique solution to the global problem of complex and distributed computer networks being used for orchestrating a range of financial crimes including ad fraud and money laundering.

For example, DEVCON’s FREEDOM for MEDIA program provides publishers with a free tool for identifying ad fraud as it happens on their networks. And the company’s premium platform provides tracking and blocking of Bad Ads.

DEVCON also announced that it has hired former FBI Cyber Squad Supervisor Michael F D Anaya as Head of Global Cyber Investigations and Government Relations. Ananya is known for leading a team focused on investigating online ad theft on the global scale and facilitating interactions with the U.S. government. Before hiring Anaya, he worked with DEVCON on a case involving over 30 fake ad networks distributing millions of attacks collectively.

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