Security Researchers Find 10 App Store Apps Involved in Ad Fraud

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Security Researchers Find 10 App Store Apps Involved in Ad Fraud

Security researchers found 10 “adware” apps in the App Store involved in ad fraud, according to a report from Bleeping Computer. Apps are designed to generate revenue by impersonating legitimate apps and displaying lots of ads to iPhone users.


Discovered by the HUMAN Satori Threat Intelligence team, the mobile app is part of an ad fraud campaign they call “Scylla.” This is the third wave of fraudulent operations first discovered in August 2019, which Apple has been fighting against. The app has been removed from the App Store‌ at this point, but if you have installed the following apps, you should delete them:

  • Loot Castles – com.loot.rcastle.fight.battle (id1602634568)
  • Run Bridge – com.run.bridge.race (id1584737005)
  • Shinning Gun – com.shinning.gun.ios (id1588037078)
  • Racing Legend 3D – com.racing.legend.like (id1589579456)
  • Rope Runner – com.rope.runner.family (id1614987707)
  • Wood Sculptor – com.wood.sculptor.cutter (id1603211466)
  • Fire-Wall – com.fire.wall.poptit (id1540542924)
  • Ninja Critical Hits – wger.ninjacriticalhit.ios (id1514055403)
  • Tony Runs – com.TonyRuns.game

Apps that engage in ad fraud use bundle IDs that don’t match their publish names, giving advertisers the appearance that the impressions are from the more profitable software category. The app appears to be emulating a CTV-based app, with the ID changing frequently to avoid detection.

While 10 apps were found on the iOS App Store‌, more than 70 were found on the Google Play Store, and adware is a much more severe problem on Android devices. Apple’s App Store review process may reduce the severity of the issue on iOS devices, but there are still apps that pass.

Adware is more of a nuisance than a serious problem in the App Store, but it’s something iPhone owners should be aware of. Security researchers suggest that smartphone users should look for fast battery drain and increased internet data usage to spot deceptive apps using ads in the future. It’s also a good idea to avoid installing apps from suspicious developers.

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