Another large mobile ad fraud scheme uncovered

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising. February 21, 2019

Oracle has just uncovered a large mobile advertising fraud operation with hundreds of Android apps being affected.

The “DrainerBot” fraud scheme affected apps such as Perfect365 and Draw Clash of Clans, which have been downloaded over 10 million times, highlighting just how serious the malware case is.

The scheme served invisible ads to Android users, depleting their data and battery life. According to Oracle, the apps contained malicious software development tools from Tapcore.

Tapcore is an app monetisation company which claims to help app developers generate revenue even if apps were pirated. However, the company is using a tactic that loads mobile video ads on users’ phones without them being aware of it.

Although some users of the apps in question had complained about rapid data usage, they weren’t necessarily able to trace it back to the exact apps.

Oracle’s senior director of software engineering Chris Tsoufakis said that the app developers themselves may not have been aware of the malware.

DrainerBot was originally uncovered in summer 2018 following a routine investigation and Oracle estimates that it could have cost consumers over $100 a year in data charges. The costs to the advertisers aren’t clear.