Google Confirms Large Scale Ad Fraud by 125 Android Apps
Google Confirms Large Scale Ad Fraud by 125 Android Apps. A network of 125 Android apps and websites has managed to defraud millions of people with ad revenue. Google confirms the news and takes additional measures.
Advertising fraud – the generation of clicks and web traffic via scripts and bots – is almost as old as the internet itself, but the problem keeps popping up in newer forms.
The American news site BuzzFeed News released the story Tuesday that it had discovered a network of fraudulent apps and websites that specifically targeted Google’s mobile advertising network. Meanwhile, Google has confirmed the new form of advertising fraud.
It is a botnet that listens to the name TechSnab and that generated false internet traffic. The fraudsters did that by using authentic-looking apps. These apps were downloaded and installed by millions of users on Android phones: 115 million times to be exact according to AppBrain.
The scammers studied the behaviour of the users and then imitated by the botnet. Those fraudulent ‘views’ of advertisements gave the fraudsters money.
Google recognises that false ad traffic slipped through the net, but it does minimise impact. The company assumes that the fraud is limited to “less than 10 million dollars”, where BuzzFeed News is talking about hundreds of millions.
Google says in the communication that other large advertising platforms were the target, so the total value of the fraud can still increase.
It is, therefore, for the sake of clarity, the advertisers who are being scammed in this way and unjustly paying millions of dollars for advertisements that nobody has seen in the apps and on the websites.
“Fighting false traffic is essential for a sustainable eco-system for digital advertising”, sounds the first sentence of Google’s reaction.
Meanwhile, the company pulled out the apps involved from the platform and immediately threw an additional series of app and websites on the blacklist to prevent advertisers from being scammed.
Google also thinks that the fraud problem around ads is an industry problem that it can not wholly solve itself. The company hopes for more cooperation between the players involved to help the problem out of the world.