Researchers at the University of Southern California and Microsoft have developed technology, known as a digital monkey, that can detect and counter fraudulent advertisements on a large scale.
The digital monkey systematically reviews apps in an app store, launches an app in an emulator, and then engages with that app and attempts to go through as much of it as it can. If the monkey is confronted with a button, it clicks on it. If it encounters a text box, it attempts to continue by determining what is being sought and entering some data, such as a zip code.
"The goal of the monkey is to go to as many pages in the app as possible," says Microsoft researcher Suman Nath. For example, Microsoft's monkey found a misleading ad in an app for playing mah-jongg, the Chinese tile game. The system found a vertical advertising bar on the right side of the screen that was filled with tiles that looked like the tiles used in the game itself.
From Technology Review
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