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The ad fraud system launches hidden video ads on Android to hold your battery and mobile data

At least two fraud detection companies have found a standard ad fraud scheme originally found in the BuzzFeed article posted Thursday, Feb. 2. It was a system that could sneak video ads behind a banner image that used the most popular Android apps and fetched your battery and mobile data. Users will no longer know because they will automatically play video ads behind legitimate ad banners. This strategy has impacted many developers' applications using Twitter's MoPub advertising platform.

Julien, one of the developers whose Android applications became a victim of ad fraud, created one of the most popular audio applications on the Google Play store, enjoying millions of downloads and hundreds of thousands of positive reviews. However, developers often received emails complaining that their app was using a battery and using more mobile data than expected. The ad fraud system used legitimate banners to sell its customers and broadcast hidden video ads.

The fraud was identified by the discovery of a fraud-protection company, Protected Media, independent verification by the External Ad Scam Institute, and additional reports and interviews with BuzzFeed News. One of the actors involved in this malicious project is Aniview, an Israeli company operating a video advertising technology platform with offices in New York.

But according to BuzzFeed News, Aniview does not imply that it was exploited by a platform created by one of its subsidiaries, or by a malicious third party not provided with advertising banners and code. That name.

BuzzFeed noticed that there was abuse. As an immediate action, we will stop this activity and begin and continue internal review of the incident, said Alon Carmel, CEO of Aniview. We have informed our clients that the use of our platform must comply with our policies and the guidelines of the IAB and TAG. He added.

This type of strategy highlights once again how ad technology companies, in particular, leverage internal access and technical knowledge to implement ad fraud. According to BuzzFeed, this is just one of many ways to drive money out of the global digital advertising industry, where ads abandoners are stolen more than $ 20 billion this year, according to ads.

According to Julien BuzzFeed News, I did not even think I was ripping. I think they are hurting the reputation of the application. This allows you to evaluate your money and use your battery. It really makes me angry.

Here are some of the ad frauds that broadcast a video hidden behind a legitimate banner.

Developers sell advertising banners that appear in applications and are visible to users. Then, the scammer hides video ads that appear behind this banner, but are listed as live and viewed. In this scenario, the developer pays for a small advertising banner for the application shown to the user, but a scammer earns several times that amount by placing a much more profitable video ad behind the banner. In the end, there are advertisers who have spread their ads in a hidden video player that has lost money to the people who manage the system. The video ad is marked as finished, so it can not be seen by the user.

Schema of fraud

The discovery confirms earlier findings from DoubleVerify, another fraud detection company that resumed work the same way as last year, according to Roy Rosenfeld, the company's vice president of product management. DoubleVerify has detected illegal video ads using Aniview's player and searching for 60 million deceptive video ads each month.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Rosenfeld said the scammers are hiding or covering what they are doing and they are very sophisticated about how to put this video inventory on board. According to Rosenfeld, DoubleVerify research shows that Aniview readers are engaged in fraudulent video advertising. He said in BuzzFeed News that his team has identified the same code and other documents as Protected Media, which recently discovered the participation of Aniview and its subsidiary OutStream Media.

Aniview's Alon Carmel said in an interview with BuzzFeed News that his company is not intentionally fraudulent and that his team is trying to stop it on the platform after contacting Protected Media last month. He acknowledged that OutStream Media, as confirmed by Protected Media, is a subsidiary of Aniview. But he stopped her activity last night and Aniview said she was closing her. He said that advertising fraud, documented by Protected Media and DoubleVerify, was created not only by bad actors using the Aniview video advertising platform, but also by images and code created by unauthorized OutStream Media.

To be completely clear, other clients of the platform [libre-service] Aniview used this video advertising player and was responsible for this activity. We immediately took steps to stop it, "Carmel said. We should not be blamed for the misuse of our platform, fighting against bad activities that focus on clean and legitimate activity, Or how to access content uploaded to an OutStream Media account on the Aniview platform.

According to BuzzFeed News, Protected Media found that much of the banner ads purchased from this program use MoPub, a Twitter-owned mobile ad network. But that does not mean MoPub has been involved in the crime. Protected Media exempted the Trojan horse via Twitter. This is because the social network itself has been exploited for months by fraudsters who have gained commission on the ads they have purchased using the tool.

A current BuzzFeed News spokesperson can confirm that suspicious activity has not been initiated by MoPub. The activity observed on protected media comes from an advertisement that triggers the execution of another video ad not visible in the background. We are currently investigating the potential causes of the problem.

This strategy is one of the key challenges in reducing billions of dollars in fraud standards in digital advertising, where the only losers in the supply chain are advertisers.

source : BuzzFeed News

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