The scammers received money for about 650 million views a day — but no one saw the ads.
Scammers installed software on more than a million Android devices that mimicked ad views and allowed them to make money on it, researchers from the cybersecurity company Human found.
Researchers found that 29 apps on Google Play “turned” infected Android devices into Smart TVs and simulated 650 million ad requests per day.
The scammers then received payments from advertisers who were led to believe that the ad views were real, when in fact they were not. Part of the fraudulent scheme was also 36 applications from the Roku app store, which served to communicate with the server that manages the bot network, but did not generate the same number of views.
In particular, the scammers used the Flash Light color-changing app, the Sling Puck 3D Challenge game, the Mobile Screen Recorder video recording app, and others. How much they earned on the scheme, the researchers do not disclose.
Now all applications are removed from the store, and the data is transferred to law enforcement agencies, the researchers say. A Google representative in a conversation with Forbes noted that he appreciates the help of Human in uncovering the scheme.