Device Hijacking

Device Hijacking

Ad fraud has established a major base for itself. With the advertising industry releasing new methods and ideas to reach out to the growing consumer base, fraudsters are also developing ways to loot the remaining revenue.

Scammers are moving deeper into the digital industry – from computers (web browsers) to mobile phones. We have seen many instances of the use of botnets to take control of a network of computers, now the fraudsters have taken one step ahead to hijack mobile phones.

What is Device Hijacking?

Taking control of a device – a mobile phone, medical equipment, etc. – sometimes, even without the owner’s knowledge, is known as device hijacking. Noticed in 2015, almost 12 million devices were found to be hijacked.

With the mobile industry collaborating with the digital advertising industry, they have found yet another way to steal revenue from advertising networks.

This is done by loading fake ads and random clicks. The genius behind this tactic is that these fraud apps are installed willingly; they are placed and advertised so as to seem legitimate. It might even be a simple flashlight app or a game app. These apps act as a gateway between the device and the hijacker, giving them free entry to access the other apps on that device.

They load a large number images and videos every minute, so fast that they’re almost “invisible”, draining the device of its battery as well as data. Consumers are forced to pay higher rates due to overconsumption of data above their paid limit. Consumers are unknowingly becoming victims of these frauds.

It is important to take a few personal steps to ensure we are not contributing to their income. Thousands of apps are available at our fingertips and more emerge every single day. Although most of them have been created for the sole purpose of being used, some act as spoof apps, created to act as a device for the crime. They do not target popular apps like Angry Birds.

This type of fraud not only affects the advertising networks but it also affects the consumer-advertiser trust. It has become difficult to differentiate between real apps and fraudulent apps, leading to increased skepticism and reducing the sales for app developers. Many third parties are getting caught in this whirlwind of cheating and loss. 

It is difficult to uncover such fraud, as the usual anti-virus software cannot detect it. Advertisers must start working with companies like Botman to take them down and to protect their brand. Companies like Botman are working towards detecting and blocking fraud, in any form or shape.

With growing digital crime, consumers are becoming wary and advertising tactics are not as effective as they were created to be. This is bringing huge losses to the industry and it’s become very important to eradicate ad fraud.

References:

  1. https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2015/08/05/mobile-hijack-why-apps-arent-safe-from-fraudsters/
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2015/07/23/have-scammers-hijacked-your-phone-for-mobile-ad-fraud/2/
  3. https://forum.equinix.com/insights/study-mobile-device-hijacking-ad-fraud-tactic-threatens-mobile-ad-ecosystem/ad-fraud
  4. https://impact.com/ad-fraud-detection/