Google Play Store is home to millions of applications. Most of these apps check with Google’s security and privacy policies that have been laid down by the company. Google Play removed 16 such applications with more than 20 million downloads combined for committing ad fraud.
The applications, which were identified by a security firm, allegedly performed ad fraud by opening web pages in the background to click on advertisements while masquerading as real users.
Google has removed 16 applications from the Play Store, which were detected by McAfee. The apps, which were previously available to download on Android smartphones and tablets, were listed as utility applications allowing users to scan QR codes, turn on the device’s flash as a torch, or convert various measurements, as per the security firm.
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The list of the app contains utility apps that allow users to scan QR codes, turn on flash as a torch, and convert measuring units. Some of the now-removed apps are Bus, Joycode, Currency Converter, High-Speed Camera, Smart Task Manager, Flashlight+, K-Dictionary, Quick Note, EzDica, Instagram Profile Downloader, and Ez Notes.
McAfee found that these applications would download code once they were opened, which and receive notifications to open web pages without alerting the user, clicking on links and advertisements. This activity would artificially raise engagement on these ads, which is a form of ad fraud.