With a total of nearly 700 million downloads between them, all of these apps were available on the Google Play Store at some point. In these five cases alone, the company detected and blocked 353 million suspicious mobile transactions preventing $ 430 million in fraudulent charges, it claims.
Upstream CEO Dimitris Maniatis commented: “Mobile ad fraud is a criminal enterprise on a massive scale. Though it may seem that it is only targeted at advertisers, it greatly affects the whole mobile ecosystem. Most importantly it adversely impacts consumers; eating up their data allowance, bringing unwanted charges, messing with the performance of their device, and even targeting and collecting their personal data.
“It is more than an invisible threat, it is an epidemic, calling for increased mobile security that urgently needs to rise up in the industry’s priority list. Left unchecked, ad fraud will choke mobile advertising, erode trust in operators and lead to higher tariffs for users”