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Chinese ad company resorts to malware to get paid

A Chinese advertising group looking to make money has resorted to the ultimate evil – malware. The news broke out on Vice's Motherboard page. According to the post, a cyber-security firm calle Check Point discovered that Yingmob (the advertising group's name) is distributing malware on 'a massive scale'.

Its development team, comprising 25 people, has apparently developed what's now called HummingBad malware. The practice is fairly common. A victim opens a mobile site, and is quickly prompted to download a malicious app. Once that's done, the malware starts displaying unwanted ads on the device.

Whenever someone clicks on one of these ads, Yingmob gets paid.

And it's getting some decent money, too. According to the report, $300,000 (£231,000) a month. Check Point says the Android app displays more than 20 million ads a day, and gets 2.5 million clicks in the same timeframe.

The HummingBad installs more than 50,000 apps in 24 hours, too. The majority of victims are in China, India, Russia, Turkey, Mexico and the US.

Google has responded:

"We've long been aware of this evolving family of malware and we're constantly improving our systems that detect it. We actively block installations of infected apps to keep users and their information safe."

But the malware is not just targeting Android users, iOS users are at risk, too. Last year, Palo Alto Networks discovered YiSpecter, and upon further inspection it was uncovered that they share the same command and control servers, suggesting Yingmob is behind both malware.

The company is yet to comment.

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