Used by over 40 million users, ai.type was the cause of over 1,10,000 devices facing secret transactions.
Millions of Android users have face unwanted charges thanks to a sneaky keyboard application on the play store that can purchase premium digital services without the knowledge of the users.
Named ‘ai.type’ the application is a customisable keyboard alternative which was actually available on the play store until June 2019, when Google took it down.
The app was used by over 40 million users. Upstream Systems said that the app was the cause of millions of transactions that users didn’t ask for. Many of these transactions were blocked by Secure-D, the company’s anti-fraud solution. However, over 1,10,000 devices had faced these secret transactions already.
Had the transactions not been blocked, the users spread across 13 countries would have collectively lost USD 18 million.
An investigation by Secure-D further revealed that the app had been sending invisible ads and non-human clicks to the users.
The app is one of many fake or malicious apps that have recently been discovered. Just a few weeks ago Google had taken down 15 malicious apps together from the play store shelves. The best advice in times like these would be to only keep the apps you really need and get apps only from trusted sources and developers.