15 Apps Removed from Google Play for Mobile Ad Fraud
Google has a zero-tolerance policy against mobile ad fraud and constantly monitors apps to ensure no fraudulent activity occurs. When Google finds an app engaging in ad fraud, it is swiftly removed from Google Play. The app developer is then given a warning and may face further action if the issue is not addressed. Google also aggressively pursues any financial losses incurred due to the mobile ad fraud and may take legal action against the app developer. Here are 16 Apps Removed from Google Play Due to Mobile Ad Fraud.
• Quick Note
Quick Note, a popular note-taking application available on the Google Play store, has recently been removed from the app store due to mobile ad fraud. The app was found to be using deceptive tactics to generate revenue from ads fraudulently. The app’s developers were found to be using “click injection” to inflate app usage and ad revenue. Click injection is a form of fraud in which fraudulent clicks are generated on ads, resulting in the app receiving more revenue. The app was also found to be using “force-close” tactics, which automatically close the app and then re-open it with a new advertisement. Google removed the app from its Play Store and is currently investigating the extent of the fraud. It is unclear if the developers of Quick Note will face any legal action, but the case serves as a reminder of the importance of ad fraud prevention. App developers should ensure that their apps are not using deceptive tactics to generate revenue. Furthermore, they should also ensure that their apps are secure and not vulnerable to malicious attacks.
• Instagram Profile Downloader
In July 2020, a popular Instagram profile downloader app was removed from Google Play due to allegations of mobile ad fraud. The app, called “Insta Downloader,” was designed to allow users to download Instagram profiles, including images and videos, to their devices.
According to reports, the app was engaging in fraudulent activity by artificially inflating its user base and ad impressions. It is believed that the app was secretly downloading malicious code used to generate fake ad clicks and impressions. This resulted in the app earning money from fake ad views, a form of mobile ad fraud.
While the app was removed from Google Play, it is still available in other app stores. It is important to note that the app is still capable of engaging in fraudulent activities, and users should be cautious when downloading and using it.
Mobile ad fraud is a serious issue, and Google has taken steps to combat it. By removing this app from Google Play, they are sending a message that they will not tolerate ad fraud and are taking steps to protect their users. It is essential that users remain vigilant and do not download apps that are engaging in fraudulent activities.
• Ez Notes
Ez Notes was an Android app that was removed from the Google Play store after it was discovered that the app was engaging in mobile ad fraud. The app was found to be running ads in the background without the user’s knowledge, generating revenue for its developers.
The app was first discovered to engage in mobile ad fraud in April 2021, when a security researcher identified that the app was loading ads even when it was not actively running. The researcher reported the issue to Google, which removed the app from the Play store.
Ez Notes was an app designed to help users organize their notes and to-do lists. It had over 10 million downloads on the Play store and was considered an alternative to popular note-taking apps such as Evernote and Google Keep.
Google has taken a tough stance on mobile ad fraud in the past few years, and this incident serves as a reminder of the importance of monitoring apps for suspicious activity. Apps that are found to be engaging in fraud can be quickly removed from the Play store, which can prevent further damage to users and businesses.
Candlencom.flashlite was an Android app available on the Google Play store that was removed for mobile ad fraud in 2021. The app was designed to provide users with a range of flashlight-related services, including a flashlight with a strobe light, a flashlight with a compass, and a flashlight with a timer.
However, it was soon discovered that the app was actually engaging in mobile ad fraud. Specifically, the app used a deceptive method to generate false impressions and clicks on ads. This fraud is often used to generate revenue for app developers without benefitting the user.
Google removed the app from the Play Store and warned users to uninstall it. In addition, Google has also initiated measures to prevent similar apps from appearing on the Play Store in the future.
The removal of Candlencom.flashlite shows that Google is serious about ensuring its users are not defrauded through deceptive advertising practices. As such, users need to be aware of the potential risks associated with downloading apps from the Google Play Store.
Doubleline.calcul was an Android app developed by DoubleLine Labs and released on Google Play in May 2020. The app was promoted as a calculator for solving mathematical equations but was used to generate fake ad impressions and revenue for the developer.
Google removed Doubleline.calcul from the Play Store in July 2020 following reports of mobile ad fraud. The app was found to be using a technique called “ad stacking,” in which multiple ads were stacked on top of each other to generate fake impressions and revenue.
Google’s Play Store policies prohibit apps from engaging in deceptive or malicious behavior, including mobile ad fraud. Doubleline.calcul violated these policies and was thus removed from the store.
Doubleline.calcul’s removal from the Play Store serves as an essential reminder to developers that Google takes mobile ad fraud seriously and will not hesitate to remove apps that are found to be engaging in such activities. Developers should also be aware that mobile ad fraud can have serious consequences, including loss of revenue, reputational damage, and even legal action.
• com.dev.imagevault Flashlight+
In December 2020, com.dev.imagevault Flashlight+ was removed from Google Play for mobile ad fraud. The app was found to be engaging in malicious practices, such as displaying ads from unauthorized sources and manipulating user clicks on ads.
To protect users from potential security risks, Google took immediate action to remove the app from Google Play. The company also stated that it was taking further steps to investigate the matter and protect users from similar apps in the future.
The app was developed by a company called ImageVault, which is based in India. It is unclear whether the company was aware of the malicious practices being perpetrated by the app.
It is important to note that com.dev.imagevault Flashlight+ was not the only app engaging in this malicious behavior. It is estimated that there are hundreds of apps on Google Play that are engaging in similar practices.
On March 9, 2021, Google removed the mobile app Joycode from the Google Play Store due to mobile ad fraud. Joycode, a game developer based in China, had been offering in-app purchases and collecting revenue through mobile ads for several years.
Google’s investigation into Joycode’s activities revealed that the company used malicious code to hijack user devices and generate fake ad impressions. This allowed Joycode to collect revenue from advertisers without providing the service or delivering the expected traffic.
Google’s decision to remove Joycode from Google Play is part of the company’s ongoing effort to combat mobile ad fraud. Over the past few years, Google has removed hundreds of apps from its platform for using deceptive and malicious advertising practices.
This action serves as a reminder to mobile app developers that Google will not tolerate fraudulent activities on its platform. App developers must ensure that their app and advertising practices are transparent and comply with Google’s terms and conditions. Failure to do so can result in removing their app from the Google Play Store.
You can read our blog for 2023 Predictions About Mobile Advertising Fraud and take action now.
EzDica was an Android app recently removed from Google Play due to mobile ad fraud. The app was first reported by the BuzzFeed News investigation, which revealed that it was manipulating users into clicking on ads to generate revenue for the developer.
The app contained features such as free rewards and daily bonuses that enticed users to download it. However, what users didn’t know was that the app was secretly loading ads in the background and then displaying them to users. This allowed the developer to generate revenue from the clicks and impressions on the ads.
Google took action against the app and removed it from the Google Play store. It also suspended the developer’s account, which prevented them from publishing any new apps on the store.
Despite the app’s removal, it is essential to be aware of the risks posed by mobile ad fraud. It is important to read reviews and research the app before downloading it to ensure it is safe and secure.
• Currency Converter
In July 2020, Google removed two apps from its Google Play store due to mobile ad fraud. The apps were a currency converter and a QR code scanner.
The apps, developed by an Indian company called GoDevelop, were found to have been engaging in click injection fraud, a type of mobile ad fraud. This fraud occurs when a malicious app or website injects fake clicks into an ad network to generate revenue. Google’s security teams discovered that the apps were performing click-injection fraud by using a hidden web view to simulate user clicks on ads.
Google removed the apps from Google Play and disabled the developer’s ability to monetize their apps. In a statement, Google said that it is “committed to protecting users and advertisers from bad actors, and [they] take swift action when [they] detect abuse.” They also encouraged developers to use their Play Security Reward Program, which rewards developers for identifying security vulnerabilities.
The removal of the apps from Google Play is a reminder of the importance of staying vigilant when it comes to mobile ad fraud.
BusanBus, a popular mobile app providing real-time transit information to users in South Korea, has been removed from the Google Play Store after it was found to be engaging in mobile ad fraud.
The app has been downloaded by over 4 million users in South Korea and was created by a startup called Busan Bus. It was designed to provide users with real-time bus information, including routes, schedules, and estimated arrival times.
However, the app was found to be engaging in a common form of mobile ad fraud known as “click injection.” This is when an app injects fake clicks into advertisements to generate revenue from fraudulent ad clicks.
Google Play Store’s policy does not allow apps to engage in any form of mobile ad fraud. As a result, the BusanBus app was removed from the store. The issue was first reported by security researchers at SEWORK, who noticed that the app sent thousands of fake clicks to ads. They also noted that the app had “suspicious” code that indicated that click injection was being used.
Busan Bus has since released a statement apologizing for the incident, and they have promised to take steps to prevent this kind of fraud in the future.
In late 2019, Google removed 8K-Dictionary from its Play Store due to alleged mobile ad fraud. 8K-Dictionary was a popular dictionary app developed by 8KMiles, an Indian software company.
The app was removed from the Play Store for violating Google’s Unwanted Software policy. According to Google, 8K-Dictionary was engaging in mobile ad fraud by deceptively displaying ads. The app was also found to be displaying ads even when it was not in use.
Google’s Unwanted Software policy prohibits apps from engaging in deceptive or malicious practices, such as displaying ads that are not clearly labeled or appear to be from the app itself. Google also prohibits apps from displaying ads when they are not in use.
After 8K-Dictionary was removed from the Play Store, 8KMiles released a statement denying involvement in mobile ad fraud. The company said that it had taken steps to ensure compliance with Google’s policies and had implemented measures to avoid any future violations.
Memocalendar was a popular mobile calendar app that allowed users to schedule meetings and events easily. However, in 2020, the app was removed from the Google Play Store due to mobile ad fraud.
The app was found to be using an ad fraud technique known as “click spamming.” This involved artificially inflating ad impressions and clicks, which generated revenue for the developer. Google removed the app from the Play Store after finding that the developer had engaged in such fraudulent activities.
The developer of Memocalendar was also found to have been involved in other scams, such as distributing fake reviews and manipulating app ratings. This further led to the app’s removal from the Play Store.
In addition to the mobile ad fraud, the app was also found to be collecting and sending user data to third-party companies without permission. This data included users’ email addresses, phone numbers, and locations.
Removing the app from the Play Store has caused significant disruption for users who relied on it for their calendar needs. Google has since removed all apps related to the developer from the Play Store.
Marketers who don’t want their app to be removed from app stores like Google Play Store can check out the Mobile Ad Fraud Guide.
In May 2019, the popular flashlight app ‘Flashlight+’ was removed from Google Play Store due to ad fraud. The app was found to be engaging in mobile ad fraud, known as ‘click injection.’ This form of ad fraud involves the app simulating clicks on ads without any interaction from the user.
The app was downloaded more than 10 million times and was found to have been using a form of click injection since at least November 2018. Google’s security team discovered the fraudulent activity and took action to remove the app from the Play Store.
The consequences of this type of ad fraud are severe, as it can lead to decreased trust in advertising networks and can result in businesses losing money. It is essential to ensure that all mobile apps are appropriately vetted to prevent malicious activity. Google’s security team should be commended for their efforts in removing Flashlight+ from the Play Store.
• Smart Task Manager
Smart Task Manager, an app on the Google Play Store for Android, was removed from the store due to suspected mobile ad fraud. The app was designed to help users manage their tasks and was found to be collecting user data and using it for mobile ad fraud.
The mobile ad fraud was discovered by researchers at Lookout, a mobile security company. It was determined that Smart Task Manager was collecting data from users, such as their device model, version of Android, and screen resolution. This data was then used to create fake clicks and impressions on ads, resulting in financial gain for the app’s developers.
The app has been downloaded over 10 million times and has an average rating of 4.3 on Google Play. It has been available in the store since 2016.
Google has been taking a firmer stance against ad fraud and has been working to remove malicious apps from its platform. In this case, Google took swift action to remove Smart Task Manager from the Google Play Store.
In addition to removing the app from the store, Google has also taken steps to prevent similar apps from being published. These include stricter app review processes and increasing the use of machine learning to detect suspicious activity.
• High-Speed Camera
High-Speed Camera has been removed from the Google Play store after it was found to be engaging in mobile ad fraud. The app, developed by a Chinese developer, was found to be displaying unnecessary ads and redirecting users to other websites without their permission.
Google has taken steps to ensure that the app is no longer available on its platform. The company stated that the app violated its policies, which state that developers must not engage in any fraudulent activity. This includes displaying ads without the user’s consent, redirecting users to other websites without permission, and collecting personal information without authorization.
Google also noted that the app had been downloaded over 100,000 times before it was removed and that it had been downloaded by users in over 100 countries. The app used a technique known as “click injection” to generate false ad impressions. This technique involves sending fake clicks to ads to generate revenue for the developer. It is estimated that the app generated over $300,000 in revenue through this method.
Google has taken a strong stance against mobile ad fraud and has removed over 250 apps from the Play store over the past year for engaging in similar activities.
In 2023, many applications will be exposed to mobile ad fraud. You can work with partners like Interceptd to prevent mobile ad fraud.