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Pixalate Says it Uncovered ‘Sophisticated’ Android Ad Fraud Potentially Worth $75 Million Annually

Ad safety company Pixalate has uncovered what it says is a ‘sophisticated’ mobile app fraud potentially costing advertisers up to $75 million a year if allowed to run unchecked.

The company says it discovered that Android app, MegaCast which allows users to broadcast content to Google’s Chromecast, was using ‘mobile app laundering’ to generate fraudulent ad impressions.

Megacast has been downloaded more than 1 million times, has more than 15,000 reviews and an average user rating of four stars, according to the Google Play Store. However, Method Media Intelligence's Shailin Dhar says those can also be manufactured at will to lend legitimacy and reduce suspicion.

“It gives them the scope to send as many ad requests as they want,” he told Which-50. “That’s how botnets were created initially. People would download a piece of screensaver software that would eat up CPU power and processing capacity because it would run invisible browsers in the background.”