Numerous suspicious mobile apps are using an advertising technique wasting one million gigabytes a day and have the potential to cause US $1 billion of damages this year.
Around 5000 iOS and Android applications have rapidly-reloading ads that are hidden from users and are set to operate even when the aps are closed or not in use. The apps are able to do this because they simulate human interaction in a way.
Normal, legitimate applications will show an ad every one or two minutes, according to researchers Antoni Kolev, David Sendroff, Matt Vella and Mike Andrews from Forensiq, a fraud detection agency based in New York. These bugged apps serve a stunning 20 ads per minute, or about 700 per hour.
Around two gigabytes for each mobile device per day is eaten up by the ads as they affect an estimated 15 percent of applications.
The fraud detection team states, “Fraudulent apps were observed selling traffic through most major ad exchanges and networks. These apps would establish on average 1100 connections per minute and communicate with 320 ad networks, ad servers, exchanges and data providers in the course of an hour.”
The team projects that, based on the traffic observed, this hacking of mobile devices will cost advertisers around $857 this year. The annual impact projected by the group will reach about $1 billion in 2015.
The financial impact that advertisers are expected to feel this year is stunning. iOS is projected to lose $363 million while Windows Mobile ad-men will lose around $14 million. Android leads the estimated loss with a projected $480 million going out the window.
Unfortunately, this sort of advertising technique goes undetected by antivirus scanners and work similarly to botnets.
The group from Forensiq was able to flag 13.3 percent of a stunning 16.2 daily daily mobile in-app impressions as they found them to be high-risk. The group used a series of highly technical and advanced methods to reach their results.