A few days ago, Google removed popular Cheetah Mobile and Kika Tech apps from its Play Store following a BuzzFeed investigation, which discovered the apps were engaging in ad fraud. Today, as a result of Google’s ongoing investigation into the situation, it has discovered three malicious ad network SDKs that were being used to conduct of ad fraud in these apps. The company is now emailing developers who have these SDKs installed in their apps, and demanding their removal. Otherwise, the developers’ apps will be pulled from Google Play, as well.
To be clear, the developers with the SDKs (software development kits) installed aren’t necessarily aware of the SDKs’ malicious nature. In fact, most are likely not, Google says.
Google shared this news in a blog post today, but it didn’t name the SDKs that were involved in the ad fraud scheme.
TechCrunch has learned the ad network SDKs in question are AltaMob, BatMobi and YeahMobi.
Google didn’t share the scale to which these SDKs are being used in Android apps, but based on Google’s blog post, it appears to be taking this situation seriously – which points to the potential scale of this abuse.