BuzzFeed News in conjunction with Protected Media found out a massive ad fraud scheme which is ripping off users by draining their phone’s battery and data while it is also targeting advertisers who are stuck in a so-called helpless situation due to the elaborate scheme ran by some bad actors.
According to a report, developers used Twitter’s MoPub ad platform in order to run autoplay video ads on apps and websites. Now, although Android smartphone users are not new of full banner advertisement including video ads, the scheme works by showing an legit ad that the users see while there are a number of ads arranged in a stack that runs behind the legit ad. Once the legit ad is done viewed, the scheme marks the ads running behind the legit ad done and watched.
This type of ad displaying scheme is called ad stacking and allows the bad actors related to it to earn a bounty as ad revenue even though no one actually shows the ad even once. Upon investigation, Protected Media, an anti-fraud firm which is actually one of the dozens of others involved in the scrutinization, found out that an Israeli ad company called Aniview and it’s subsidiary OutStream Media are responsible for the wrongdoing.
They found out the whereabouts of the responsible company after going through the codes of these ads leaving Twitter away from these accusations since it was itself exploited. Late last year, DoubleVerify, another anti-fraud firm, came up with these scheme pointing out Aniview which made more than 600 million ad calls every month which translates to millions in ad revenue even without anyone actually viewing the ad.
Upon questioning, the Israeli-based Aniview’s Alon Carmel (Company’s chief) denied any involvement and added that a perpetrator was responsible for creating an account on their platform and using their banners to earn revenue. He added that Aniview is trying to combat such types of activities on its platform and has been focused on using legit activities to do its job. If you are someone who has to complain about draining the battery, check if any of the latest apps you downloaded is the problem or not. Since it is not always easy to point out the source app behind many banner ads, you can always start by uninstalling in descending order.