8 Popular Android Apps Caught Up In Million-Dollar Ad Fraud Scheme

[ Nov 28, 2018 ]

Cheetah Mobile—a prominent Chinese app company, known for its popular utility apps like Clean Master and Battery Doctor—and one of its subsidiary Kika Tech have allegedly been caught up in an Android ad fraud scheme that stole millions of dollars from advertisers.

According to app analytics firm Kochava, 7 Android apps developed by Cheetah Mobile and 1 from Kika Tech with a total 2 billion downloads on Google Play Store have been accused of falsely claiming the credits for driving the installation of new apps in order to claim a fee or bounty.

Many mobile application developers generate revenue by promoting and recommending the installation of other apps inside their apps for a fee or a bounty that typically ranges from $0.50 to $3.00.

To know which advertisement recommended the app and should get the credit, the newly installed app does a “lookback” immediately after it is opened for the first time to see from where the last click was originated and attribute the installation accordingly.

Cyber Security Tips:

Here’s the list of seven Cheetah Mobile apps and one Kika app, which received an investment from Cheetah Mobile in 2016, caught participating in the fraudulent ad scheme:

  • Clean Master (with 1 billion users)
  • Security Master (with 540 million users)
  • CM Launcher 3D (with 225 million users)
  • Battery Doctor (with 200 million users)
  • Cheetah Keyboard (with 105 million users)
  • CM Locker (with 105 million users)
  • CM File Manager (with 65 million users)
  • Kika Keyboard (owned by Kika Tech with 205 million users)

So, if you have any of the above-listed apps installed on your Android device, you are recommended to uninstall them immediately.


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