How do mobile apps violate the behavioral policy of advertisement libraries?

Feng Dong, Haoyu Wang, Li Li, Yao Guo, Guoai Xu, Shaodong Zhang

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Advertisement libraries are used in almost two-Thirds of apps in Google Play. To increase economic revenue, some app developers tend to entice mobile users to unexpectedly click ad views during their interaction with the app, resulting in kinds of ad fraud. Despite some popular ad providers have published behavioral policies to prevent inappropriate behaviors/practices, no previous work has studied whether mobile apps comply with those policies. In this paper, we take Google Admob as the starting point to study policy-violation apps. We first analyze the behavioral policies of Admob and create a taxonomy of policy violations. Then we propose an automated approach to detect policy-violation apps, which takes advantage of two key artifacts: An automated modelbased Android GUI testing technique and a set of heuristic rules summarized from the behavior policies of Google Admob. We have applied our approach to 3,631 popular apps that have used the Admob library, and we could achieve a precision of 86% in detecting policy-violation apps. The results further show that roughly 2.5% of apps violate the policies, suggesting that behavioral policy violation is indeed a real issue in the Android advertising ecosystem.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHotMobile '18
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications
    EditorsAruna Balasubramanian
    Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Print)9781450356305
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2018
    EventInternational Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications 2018 - Tempe, United States of America
    Duration: 12 Feb 201813 Feb 2018
    Conference number: 19th (Proceedings)


    WorkshopInternational Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications 2018
    Abbreviated titleHotMobile 2018
    Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
    Internet address


    • Ad fraud
    • Ad library
    • Admob
    • Android
    • Behavior policy

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