Ad Scheme Found Inside Google Play By A Spin-Off Chinese Developer

Ad Scheme Found Inside Google Play By A Spin-Off Chinese Developer

It is no secret to everyone that Google Play hosts all kinds of mobile applications. It has a more lax approach when it comes to app permissions than Apple’s more restrictive approach with the App Store.

But Google is working on being more stringent when it comes to app permissions now. Now Google Play makes another headline with another ad fraud scheme inside the Store. And this issue is following last year’s Cheetah Mobile’s investigation.

Evidence To An Ad Fraud Scheme Inside Google Play

Another Chinese developer, DO Global, is making its rounds on the internet by putting codes on its apps that automatically clicks on ads without the users’ knowledge.

This issue was first brought to light by BuzzFeed News in collaboration with security researchers Check Point and Method Media Intelligence.

A Chinese Developer Puts Codes On Apps To Automatically Click Ads
A Chinese Developer Puts Codes On Apps To Automatically Click Ads

They found out that the developer responsible is a spin-off of the Chinese giant Baidu, that became independent just last year. The developer has an accumulated 90 million downloads on the Play Store before Google removed the listings.

If you examine at DO Global’s apps, they are kind of sketchy. All have the similar system functionality like camera, flashlight or a cleaner-up apps that get rid of junk files which help make your device faster.

But some say, they ended up with a slower device after installing these cleaner-up apps. And looking at the six removed apps, Selfie Camera, Total Cleaner, Smart Cooler, RAM Master, AIO Flashlight and Omni Cleaner, you can totally see the similarities.

DO Global Uses A US Parent Company For Its Apps

Many wonder if Google is really that lax for developers like DO Global to get around? Well, we will break down the parts that make up for this fraud scheme.

First, DO Global used a US parent company to get its app on the Play Store. It is somewhat tricking users to believe that all they offer are US products.

DO Global Used A US Parent Company For Its Apps To Be Published On The Play Store
DO Global Used A US Parent Company For Its Apps To Be Published On The Play Store

Second, the apps are programmed to automatically click on ads, stealing money from advertisers who did not get any real user interaction at all.

Also, it happens in the background while the screen is turned off. So, users will find batteries that drain very quickly and worse of all – unexpected data bills.

Users Are Being Warned With The Apps They Download On The Play Store

There Are Tons Of Apps On Play Store Which Suck Personal Information From Users
There Are Tons Of Apps On Play Store Which Suck Personal Information From Users

BuzzFeed News also mentioned that tons of apps on the Play Store has abused the permissions and non-transparent privacy policies to get personal information from users.

Unfortunately, it does not point to specific developers and apps, so users can completely avoid them.

As of this moment, we can only hope that Google applies a more strict rules and guidelines over the apps that are published to the Play Store. Also, to ensure the safety and security of the users, we can hope that Google takes more control over the Play Store.

Fortunately though, the company has already started to do this by requiring higher target APIs and monitoring phone and SMS permissions more closely.

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