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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : July 12, 2017

Anura identifies more than 1,000 zombie apps in Google Play Store

Zombie apps infect mobile phones expending data usage and battery life and cost advertisers billions of dollars annually. Next-gen fraud protection software, Anura, announced this week that more than a thousand of such apps have been identified in the Google Play store.

by Helen Leggatt

Zombie apps can appear harmless. They may be in the form of a game, or a simple utility such as a flashlight. However, once installed, the apps run continuously - even when not opened by the user. In the background they can consume gigabytes of data a day, drain battery power and run tens of thousands of ads without the user's knowledge.

When investigating zombie apps on the Google Play store, the Anura team selected two - Lovely Rose and Oriental Beauty - and tracked their behavior over a 24 hour period. What they found was the devices on which the apps were installed - and not used - registered 3,061 ad requests to ad networks that work with household brands.

Anura's engineers scanned the top performing Google Play store apps and discovered variations of the same code as Lovely Rose and Oriental Beauty which could potentially cost advertisers anywhere between $2million and $10million daily.

"Anura's findings are critical in understanding how fraudulent activity affects consumers and advertisers," said Rich Kahn, CEO of eZanga, of which Anura is a division.

"Fraud is like the flu. Every year, it evolves, forming new strains for which we have to create vaccines. Similarly, fraudsters constantly create ways to manipulate systems, and it's imperative that all parties involved are aware of what is happening and how to prevent it."

Tags: advertising, fraud, mobile apps, zombie app

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