App fraud, a growing sector

When reporters from The Washington Post were trying to track down who backed the break-in at the Watergate complex, their source, code-named Deep Throat, told them to “follow the money”.

Where money is involved unscrupulous people will follow. The current nefarious activity is with on-line advertising and apps. According to a recent study by Forensig, which is a fraud detection firm, on-line advertisers are being defrauded by $1 billion a year. And the scale of the fraud is growing.

But advertisers aren’t the only ones being defrauded. Users are getting hurt by invisible, ghost-like ads flowing in to their devices. These ads are invisible hitch hikers that users may not see which generate a reader click for which the advertiser is charged (that’s the fraud against the advertiser), plus eat up device storage space, drain battery life and direct searches to un-related advertiser websites. Forensig found one percent of devices in the United States and three percent of devices in Europe and Asia are infected with over 5,000 fraudulent apps, making 1,100 connections a minute.

So, if your mobile device, whether Apple or Android, seems unusually slow, this could be a cause.

By allanlynch

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