Cheetah Mobile apps on Google Play are commiting ad fraud
Apps from the popular Android app developer Cheetah Mobile have been involved in an advertisement fraud scheme that has potentially stolen millions of dollars. These apps include ones downloaded over 200 million times, such as Kika Keyboard.
According to app analytics firm Kochava, Cheetah Mobile exploited an app referral bonus for getting users to download its apps from advertisements by utilizing another company, the China-based Kika, which they had controlling investments in. This exploit allowed them to receive the referral bonus from each developers' published apps and pool it together, thereby "stealing" money.
Following Buzzfeed News publishing its story about this fraud, Cheetah Mobile's CM Locker and Battery Doctor apps have been delisted from the Google Play Store.
The Cheetah apps implicated are:
- Clean Master
- Battery Doctor
- Security Master
- Cheetah Keyboard
- CM Launcher 3D
- CM Locker
- Kika Keyboard
- CM File Manager