Up to 75 apps on Google Play and 10 apps on Apple App Store was found to have engaged in ad fraud as part of an ongoing campaign that began in 2019.
Latest iteration, voiced Scylla by online anti-fraud company HUMAN Security, which followed similar attacks in August 2019 and late 2020 with the codenames Poseidon and Charybdis respectively.
Before being removed from the app stores, apps were collectively installed more than 13 million times.
Poseidon’s initial operation consisted of more than 40 Android apps designed to display ads out of context or hidden from the device user’s view.
On the other hand, Charybdis is an improvement over the past using code obfuscation tactics to target advertising platforms.
Scylla presents the latest adaptation of the program in that it extends beyond Android to break into the iOS ecosystem for the first time, besides relying on additional layers of code using tools Allatori.
These apps, once installed, are designed to perform different types of ad fraud, marking a significant step up in sophistication over previous variants.
These include spoofing popular apps like streaming services to trick ad SDKs into placing ads, serving “hidden” and out-of-context ads through off-screen WebViews, and generating clicks on them. fraudulent advertising to profit from advertising.
“In layman’s terms, attackers code their apps to masquerade as other apps for advertising purposes, often because the app they’re spoofing is valuable,” the company said. more for advertisers than the app itself,” the company said.
As always, users should scrutinize apps before downloading them and avoid third-party app stores on the web that may contain malicious apps.