[Oct 26, 2018]
Buzzfeed News exposed an ad fraud where cybercriminals were using more than 125 Android apps and websites for tracking and mimicking user behavior. It was used generating millions of dollars through ad views/ clicks.
Google explained in a blog post, how the botnet termed as “TechSnab” works to inflate the ad revenue by deploying bots to visit web pages. It showed ads to bots in an invisible window to create fake traffic among the real ones.
The masterminds of the ad fraud network kept an eye on popular apps and brought them quickly to include in their network. Once acquired, the apps were kept well maintained to keep the real users happy.
These purchased apps were used to train bots to monitor user behaviour and act like humans. This is how they managed to evade various fraud prevention tools and allowed the operators to make millions of dollars secretly.
The affected apps include popular ones too ranging from games to utility apps like smartphone flashlights and nutrition apps. Many of the implicated apps were specifically made for children too.
Cyber Security Tips:
– Disable the installation of apps from unknown sources in your phone’s settings.
– Only install apps from Google Play.
– Do Not Root Your Device.
– Update Your Device When Prompted.
– Back Up Your Personal Data Regularly.