Study Finds Ad Fraud In More Than Half Of Uncertified Apps

Ad fraud appears in more than half (52%) of uncertified apps and in nearly one-tenth (8%) of certified app traffic, according to a new white paper, “Advertising Fraud in Mobile Apps," released on Monday by Sizmek.

The study by Sizmek, an open ad-management firm,  analyzed around 20 billion app impressions on iOS and Android devices. In total, about 24,000 apps not certified by official stores were found to generate malicious traffic.

While official app stores offer a layer of oversight to prevent fraudulent apps from entering the marketplace, they still find their way onto mobile devices, typically from consumers downloading from third-party app stores or websites. Malicious app developers place sophisticated and often “legitimate” looking apps on these stores and websites.

Sizmek found instances of malicious traffic in around 4,000 certified apps.

Other key findings include:

--For iOS devices, half of illegally downloaded uncertified apps performed malicious activity.

--Over half (56%) of all uncertified apps on Android devices performed malicious activity.

--AVG, an anti-virus and malware protection product, a common protection product, discovered less than a quarter (22%) of all malicious apps and under half (43%) of all malicious traffic on uncertified apps.

“Uncertified apps have become a breeding ground for fraud, so brands need to be vigilant with their mobile targeting as well as their blacklists when seeking safe options to reach and impact audiences via mobile,” stated Zach Schapira, global product strategist at Sizmek. “If an advertiser is deploying a piece of their budget towards in-app advertising, it’s important that they understand that malicious activity does not discriminate.”

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