Security Researchers Discover 10 App Store Apps Engaging in Ad Fraud

Security researchers discovered 10 "adware" apps on the App Store that were engaging in ad fraud, according to a report from Bleeping Computer. The apps were designed to generate revenue by impersonating legitimate apps and presenting a deluge of ads to iPhone users.

iOS App Store General Feature Sqaure Complement
Discovered by HUMAN's Satori Threat Intelligence team, the mobile apps are part of an ad fraud campaign they're calling "Scylla." It is the third wave of a fraud operation first discovered in August 2019, which Apple has been fighting. The apps have been removed from the ‌App Store‌ at this point, but if you have the following apps installed, you should delete them:

  • Loot the Castle - 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 Hit - wger.ninjacriticalhit.ios (id1514055403)
  • Tony Runs - com.TonyRuns.game

The apps committing ad fraud used a bundle ID that did not match their publication name, making it appear to advertisers that impressions came from a more profitable software category. The apps apparently imitated CTV-based apps, with IDs changing often to evade detection.

While 10 apps were found on the iOS ‌App Store‌, more than 70 were found on Google's Play Store, and adware is a much more severe problem on Android devices. Apple's ‌App Store‌ review process was able to lessen the severity of the problem on iOS devices, but there are still apps that slip through.

Adware is more of an annoyance than a serious issue on the ‌App Store‌, but it is something that ‌iPhone‌ owners should be aware of. Security researchers suggest that smartphone users should look for rapid battery drainage and increased internet data usage to spot apps that are fraudulently using ads in the future. Avoiding installing apps from suspicious developers is also a good idea.

Top Rated Comments

Basic75 Avatar
18 weeks ago

Avoiding installing apps from suspicious developers is also a good idea.
Wasn't the whole point of the walled garden to prevent suspicious apps and developers?
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CWallace Avatar
18 weeks ago
The App Store certainly has plenty of issues, but just consider how much worse it would be if Apple just let everyone post any app they wanted without any attempt at oversight...
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wordsworth Avatar
18 weeks ago
Critics seem to conveniently ignore how difficult if not downright impossible it is to achieve a perfect system (any system), under the impression here, perhaps, that all Apple's wielding of the 'magic' sales pitch means the company can indeed achieve magical (ie 'perfect') results. Real world scenario: choose your poison – Apple or Android. A walled garden doesn't prevent weeds but if carefully attended to, it will minimise them.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ponzicoinbro Avatar
18 weeks ago

And another for the list of bullet points debunking Apple's lies about sideloading.


The story literally says it is worse on Android so unless someone reading the story has cognitive problems, this story backs up Apple and proves sideloading is a menace when it comes to piracy and and ad fraud.

Developers wont benefit one bit from sideloading because apps will be pirated massively and a lot of those pirate apps will contain malware and user tracking ads.

As people point out, the only people who support sideloading on smart phones are:

- organized criminals spamming forums to demand sideloading.
- pirates who don’t want to pay for apps.
- just people with a bad grudge and a chip on their shoulder.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GeoStructural Avatar
18 weeks ago
This is IMPOSSIBLE, the App Store review process is the standard in privacy and security. The walled garden is here protect us from the evils of external apps. /s


Edit: Let's remember that Apple went as far as to trash their own desktop OS in front of a judge to support their monopolistic practices in iOS: Craig Federighi says the Mac has an ‘unacceptable’ malware problem ('https://9to5mac.com/2021/05/19/craig-federighi-mac-malware-problem/')
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
autrefois Avatar
18 weeks ago

Avoiding installing apps from suspicious developers is also a good idea.
I was kind of hoping that Apple would be better at spotting suspicious developers than I am.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 15 pro wifi 6e

Internal Apple Document From Leaker 'Unknownz21' Confirms Wi-Fi 6E Will Be Limited to iPhone 15 Pro Models

Friday January 27, 2023 10:01 am PST by
Multiple rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone 15 models will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard that Apple has already introduced in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, and now a leaked document appears to confirm Apple's plans. Sourced from researcher and Apple leaker Unknownz21 (@URedditor), the document features diagrams of the iPhone 15's antenna architecture. D8x refers to the...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 8 Features

Friday January 27, 2023 2:11 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least eight exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the eight features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
top stories 28jan2023

Top Stories: iOS 16.3 Released, iPhone 15 Pro Rumors, macOS Tips and Tricks, and More

Saturday January 28, 2023 6:00 am PST by
Following last week's hardware announcements, this week saw the actual release of several of the new products as well as operating system updates bringing new features and bug fixes across Apple's platforms. This week also saw some fresh rumors about the iPhone 15 lineup and Apple's upcoming AR/VR headset, while we shared some tips to help you get the most of your macOS experience, so read...
Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M2 Max MacBook Pro

Thursday January 26, 2023 12:14 pm PST by
New 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with the latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are available in Apple retail stores and are already in the hands of customers, and we picked up one of the new M2 Max machines to answer all of the questions MacRumors readers considering a purchase might have. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Yesterday, we asked MacRumors fans on...
iPhone 15 General Mock Feature

Kuo: iPhone 15 Models to Adopt Wi-Fi 6E

Thursday January 26, 2023 5:09 pm PST by
The upcoming iPhone 15 models that are set to be introduced later in 2023 will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note about Apple's work on a Wi-Fi chip, Kuo said that the company will upgrade the iPhone 15 to Wi-Fi 6E. Apple is already using Wi-Fi 6E for the 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models introduced last year, along with the new Mac mini and...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Expected to Feature Wi-Fi 6E Like Latest Macs and iPad Pro

Wednesday January 25, 2023 5:39 pm PST by
The iPhone 15 will support Wi-Fi 6E, according to a research note shared this week by Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Tom O'Malley. The analysts did not specify whether the feature will be available on all models or limited to the Pro models. Apple has added Wi-Fi 6E support to a handful of devices so far, including the latest 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook...