From poker-playing bots to Android’s report: How fraud hit the headlines in April

Samuel Harries

Apr 26, 2019

As fraud prevention becomes more sophisticated, fraudsters are hellbent on outwitting their victims by any means necessary. Our Head of Fraud, Andreas Naumann, describes this as “a game of cat and mouse.” It’s the reason disincentivizing fraudsters with fraud prevention tools is the best way to protect your app, as well as taking steps to ensure you’re working with trusted partners. Moreover, staying up-to-date with the latest fraud stories is another weapon to add to your arsenal, and it comes at no extra cost. With that in mind, here’s how mobile fraud – and the continued fight against it – has made headlines this month.

Android’s fight against harmful apps: Read the annual report

Stop ignoring your security updates!

On April 1, Google and its Android partners kicked off the month by releasing the official Security Report 2018, sharing key insights into how potentially harmful apps (PHAs) have been combated over the past twelve months. Notably, this is the first security report to include click fraud within its categorization of PHAs – resulting in the overall percentage of PHAs downloaded from Google Play to double from 0.02% to 0.04%.

While this inclusion means the overall number of PHAs increased, Google reports that the "overall health of the Android ecosystem improved." Still, these findings highlight the impact click fraud has made on the industry. In fact, PHAs on Google Play have “declined by 31% year-over-year” when you exclude click fraud from these statistics.

Unilever makes list of trusted partners & publishers

Unilever is keeping its hands clean of ad fraud.

In an effort to ensure Unilever ads are seen by humans, not bots, the multi-billion dollar consumer goods company has set up a trusted network of platforms and publishers. To make the grade, partners must successfully meet the company’s standards for ad fraud, brand safety, traffic quality and more.

The move will reward trustworthy partners and give fraudsters fewer opportunities to benefit from ad fraud. Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Keith Weed, calls this a push for “more consumer trust through greater publisher transparency, more effective use of time and money, and better online experiences for everyone.” The futility of wasting ad spend on fraud was clearly a key part of the decision, as Keith Weed reminds us that “bots don’t eat a lot of Ben & Jerry’s.”

Partypoker refunds players after detecting large-scale bot abuse

Poker-playing bots just got caught bluffing.

In a move that is sure to boost player confidence, Partypoker has purged 277 bot accounts within the last four months. This has resulted in a total payout of $734,852.15, distributed between the victims of this abusive bot fraud. Amazon was also a victim of bot fraud this month, as it was flooded with automated fake reviews for specific products by unfamiliar brands.

Bot fraud made headlines in a number of ways this month, and it’s the same here at Adjust, where we announced that Unbotify is now available as a standalone product. This latest announcement underlines our resolve to end in-app bot abuse for good.

From SDK spoofing and click injection to in-app bot abuse, the fight against fraud is widespread and ongoing. If you’d like to learn more about how Adjust is leading the fight against fraud, take a look at our fraud prevention suite. We are also proud founders of the Coalition Against Ad Fraud (CAAF), and combat in-app bot fraud with Unbotify.

For further insights on how fraud has hit the headlines, don’t forget to return for our regular fraud roundups.

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