The Chinese app developer Cheetah Mobile is responsible for the creation of a number of very popular apps on the market.
These include apps that you might have even used, such as Clean Master and CM File Manager. Hence, it is pretty shocking to discover that the app developer has been defrauding advertisers for quite some time now, with the amount of money involved in this fraud numbering in the high millions.
These apps have been downloaded over two billion times which makes them highly popular among users. The way this fraud worked was that the apps would entice users into downloading new apps and then manipulating the program that is designed to ascertain where this referral came from.
The 8 apps in question are:
- Clean Master
- Security Master
- CM Launcher 3D
- Kika Keyboard
- Battery Doctor
- Cheetah Keyboard
- CM Locker
- CM File Manager
“This particular scheme exploits the fact that many app developers pay a fee, or bounty, that typically ranges from 50 cents to $3 to partners that help drive new installations of their apps. Kochava found that the Cheetah and Kika apps tracked when users downloaded new apps and used this data to inappropriately claim credit for having caused the download.” explained Craig Silverman a BuzzFeed news reporter, in a blog post.
He added further, “The practice being executed by Cheetah and Kika is referred to as click flooding and click injection, and ensures these companies are rewarded an app-install bounty even when they played no role in an app’s installation.”