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BizReport : Advertising archives : July 28, 2015

Massive mobile ad fraud uncovered

A report by fraud detection firm Forensiq has found thousands of malicious apps in official app stores that are carrying out ad fraud.

by Helen Leggatt

Seemingly harmless apps downloaded from app stores are serving thousands of invisible ads to mobile users defrauding advertisers out of an estimated $1 billion and year and chewing up up to 2Gb of users' data daily.

The report, from Forensiq, also says that these apps are quickly using up an infected device's battery life. The report suggests that 1% of all devices in the U.S. are running these apps, rising to 3% of devices in Europe and Asia.

The fraudulent apps, more than 5,000 of which have been identified in Apple and Android stores, were found to generate traffic through most of the major ad exchanges, establishing more than 1,100 connections each minute. Some apps were able to simulate random clicks, and loaded an advertiser's landing page without the device owner being aware it was happening.

Many of the identified apps are simple games or utilities. "It's not Angry Birds or Candy Crush, but these are apps that people play and enjoy and some real effort went into developing," says David Sendroff, Forensiq's founder and chief executive.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, apps, fraud, mobile

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