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The Clicking Bot Applications

2017-11-07 10:45

Cyber crime, like any crime, has its motives; each malware has its own malicious profit.

Spyware spies on you. Ransomware demands a ransom to decrypt your private digital data. Phishing Malware phishes for your username, password or account numbers. Installation-fraud achieves fake software installations. Ad fraud fraudulently represents online advertisement impressions, clicks, conversion or data events in order to generate financial gain for the developer. And finally, there is Click fraud.

Click fraud (CF) is a type of Ad fraud that abuses online pay-per-click advertising in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked and is big business for developers.

Conservative estimates from the Interactive Advertising Bureau attributes revenue from Ad fraud at 8.2 billion US Dollars, making it a top income generating cybercrime.

Clicking Bot Applications (CBA) use various methods in order to simulate user clicks to generate revenue, what Ads are to be targeted, how the CBAs are controlled by their command and control (C&C) server and how to avoid the detection methods that are commonly used against them.

Although those CBAs are utilized for a fraudulent financial gain at the expense of the advertisers and publishers, some of CBAs’ methods and functionality can easily be utilized for Ransomware, Spyware and other Malware types.

Zimperium’s core machine learning engine, z9 for Mobile Malware, detects previously unknown malicious applications and zero-day exploits. As a part of the z9 validation of the machine learning detection for malware, several Android Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) that were CBAs and part of a Malware Botnet that controls its CBAs activity were found.

My recent CBA research identified several circumstances where the clicks can be identified and by which means. I tried several methods and after changing the CBA’s code, I determined what should be added in order to achieve an efficient CBA result. I also tried other auto clicking methods that can be used, but this post won’t technically specify any additional improvements for CBA activity.

One of the CBA’s methods tried to defraud the Facebook Audience Network. After we, the Zimperium malware team, identified the CBA, we informed the Traffic Quality and Fraud team at Facebook about the malicious apps. We provided the application’s details, the SDK’s account ids and auto clicks we were able to reproduce so Facebook could decide how to react. They promptly removed the apps from the Audience Network and informed us that our research enabled them to find a set of apps that were using this same attack vector. Our research helped confirm the apps were indeed malicious and remove the chances the clicks were from bots and not real users.

Below I provide segments of decompiled-deobfuscated code and Android API references on which you can press the URL link or let a CBA do it for you <p><hr/></p>
     <p>Source: <a  href=/snoitacilppa-tob-gnikcilc/moc.muirepmiz.golb

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