A new bluff has been discovered that manipulates Android devices to earn ad revenue without the user's knowledge. The scam discovered by the anti-fraud firm called Protected Media (with further investigations by BuzzFeed ) affected the banner ads in several Android apps.
The support involved stacking several video ads behind a typical ad banner. These additional ads would be registered as requested – generate ad revenue for the scams – even if the user didn't see them. A smartphone's battery would still drain as if the user had looked at many video ads.
It's a type of ad fraud called Ad Stacking and it can be very lucrative. Protected Media CEO Asaf Greiner said they found a new version of last fall and that he had observed "tens of millions of dollars worth" of these monthly video ads.
In addition to the detrimental effect of these scams on the advertising industry, this sounds like a nightmare for those who have phones have apparently killed for no reason. We do not know how many people were affected.
The fraud is traced to an advertising technology company called Aniview, and some issues were raised about their engagement. Aniview has denied anything wrong and said it was fighting against bad activities and the use of the platform.
It does not seem that these types of fraud are gone for good and it is difficult to deal with, as the process is hidden from view. If you suspect that the phone has such a problem and can limit it to a particular app, it may be worth uninstalling and let the developer know about the problem.