Billions of downloads: large-scale advertising scams on Android discovered


The fact that there are some black sheep in addition to many harmless Android apps in the Google Play Store is shown again and again. Now, some very popular applications of systematic advertising schemes have been nullified. Applications, which have billions of downloads, handle installation processes and fool clicks.

Audacity has always been a good way to make money, and this principle applies to business related to app downloads and ad clicks. Buzzfeed News has now identified a total of eight applications from two Google Play Store providers, which appear to have systematically diverted the commission for certain advertising services. With more than two billion downloads and 700 million active users, apps are still actual heavyweights in Playstore.
Cheetah Mobile Cleaner MasterCleaner Master at Play Store: According to Buzzfeed, the most popular promotional hit app
According to this information, seven applications are applications from Chinese developer Cheetah Mobile, one of which was offered by China's Kika Tech, now based in Silicon Valley and financially connected to Cheetah Mobile. Following a list of all those mentioned by Buzzfeed Applications with advertising fraud mechanisms:

  • Clean master
  • Security maser
  • CM 3D Launcher
  • Kika Keyboard
  • Battery Doctor
  • Cheetah Keyboard
  • CM Locker
  • CM File Manager

Two strokes

As the Adtech provider Kochava diagnosed after the investigation of the applications, comes to the systematic fraud two known knits used. With the so-called "Click Injection," applications try to fool profitable commissions into application installations. Applications register when a user reinstalls an application and suggests that this installation be done by clicking an ad in one of their own applications. In addition, installed applications are started immediately by fraud applications to trigger commission payment.

The second point is based on the so-called "click flooding", in which the application repeatedly requests clicks on ads, in which the sponsors promise a particularly high commission. If, in turn, an application is installed through such a display, it can receive double the money, so to speak.

Very brazen

These scenarios are only possible because applications request up to 120 individual user access rights. Buzzfeed's research led Google to investigate. Application developers make external software components responsible for behavior and do not blame themselves.

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App store, Google Play, Android Market
App store, Google Play, Android Market


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