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Google Android users have been put at risk again after it emerged a keyboard app called ai.type previously available on the Play Store has been making millions of unauthorized purchases of premium digital content. The Android app has been downloaded more than 40 million times, according to researchers at Upstream. Hiding in plain sight by masking its activity to spoof apps such as Soundcloud, the rogue Google Android app delivers millions of invisible ads and fake clicks, passing on user data about real views, clicks, and purchases to ad networks. Ai.type is a customizable on-screen keyboard app developed by Israeli firm ai.type LTD, which describes the app as a “free emoji keyboard.” But in the background, without your knowledge, the Android app turns your device into “one of the many bots of the network controlled by fraudsters to commit ad fraud,” says Guy Krief, CEO of Upstream. The app was deleted from the Google Play Store in June, but it remains on millions of Android devices and is still available from other third-party marketplaces. There was a spike in its suspicious activity once removed, the Upstream researchers say. Specifically, Upstream says its Secure-D platform has detected and blocked more than 14 million suspicious transaction requests from 110,000 unique devices that downloaded the ai.type keyboard. It’s one of many rogue Android apps reported in recent weeks. Only last week, researchers at ESET discovered a year-long campaign that saw 8 million installs of adware delivered through 42 apps. It came after ESET researcher Lukas Stefanko published his report detailing the 300 million malicious Android app reports during the month of September. Other recent rogue apps plaguing Android users include spyware and adware. Follow this thread by navigating to OUR FORUM.

 

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