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Mobile Ad Fraud
Furkan BUKAN avatar
Written by Furkan BUKAN
Updated over a week ago

What is Mobile Ad Fraud?

Deliberate deception of attribution methodologies in order to inflate ad performance metrics for monetary gain.

What are the different types of Mobile Ad Fraud?

Fake installs can be generated by
– Device Farms
– Bots/Botnets
– Emulators
Attribution of real users can be stolen by
– Click spamming
– Click injection
MMPs can be hacked by
– SDK Spoofing

What is click spamming?

Click spamming is an attribution fraud where a network simulates a number of fake clicks from real devices in hopes of getting the attribution of an organic install. Most of the installs have long click-to-install times. Since the installs are actually organic, ad budget is wasted on highly engaged legitimate users, which would have been acquired organically.

What is click injection?

Click injection is an attribution fraud that abuses the broadcast feature of Android OS. It occurs when a fraudulent app on a device listens to other app installs and creates fake clicks while the install is in progress. It results in claiming the attribution of that install from other channels by providing the last click. It can be detected by checking the click timestamp with Google Play Install Referrer times (store landing and install begin timestamps). Generally click-to-install times are unrealistically short.

What is SDK spoofing?

SDK Spoofing is an advanced fraud type where other parties reverse-engineer the communication between MMP’s server and MMP’s SDK in the app. They can manipulate any number on the MMP dashboard by pinging the MMP from their servers without even a real device.

What is device farming?

Clicks and installs can be fabricated by device farms (usually with manual labor) or by bots/emulators (for a more automated and high volume of fake traffic). There is no real user with these frauds, and revenue events are usually nonexistent.

What are the existing tools for fraud prevention & protection?

Some of the well-known third-party fraud prevention tools are Interceptd, mFilterit & Fraudscore. In addition to it, the MMP tools often have a fraud solution of their own, similar to Appsflyer’s P360 & Adjust’s Fraud Prevention Suite.

What protection & prevention mechanisms are there available in App Samurai platform?

AppSamurai’s in-house fraud prevention & detection engine monitors all the data at a click level, meaning if a click is fraudulent via means of VPN, hosting provider, etc., it is blocked in real time to ensure that the end conversion user is a valid install.

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