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This clever scam lets advertisers make money by draining your Android phone


Remember when we learned it was theoretically possible for a webpageor app — to steal your processor cycles to mine cryptocurrency, potentially draining your battery and cellular data in the process? BuzzFeed reports that ad networks have figured out a similar scam — one that lets lucrative, power-hungry video advertisements hide behind traditional banner ads in Android apps, so users don’t even know they’re there.

According to BuzzFeed, it’s not app developers to blame — they were surprised to find an influx of complaints about why their apps are draining users’ batteries and eating up more than their fair share of data. Instead, the report suggests that the ad networks they’d signed up with had been hijacked by fraudsters within the larger ad business. (BuzzFeed traced the ads to a company called OutStream Media, a subsidiary of Aniview; Aniview says it runs a self-service platform and is not to blame, but BuzzFeed paints a picture of Aniview as a seemingly sketchy organization.)

The scam isn’t just at the expense of consumers, but also ad networks too, as the scammers buy up cheap banner spots and fill them with expensive video ads, profiting in the process.

Apparently, the technique already has a name: they’re known by the term “in-banner video ads,” and ad fraud companies who spoke to BuzzFeed say they see “tens of millions of dollars’ worth” of these bad ads every month.

You can read BuzzFeed’s full investigation here.



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Technology

GI Show – Sekiro, Google Stadia, The Division 2


Welcome back to The Game Informer Show! On this week’s massive episode, Suriel Vazquez and Kyle Hilliard grill Dan Tack on his review of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Then, special guest Ben Hanson joins the show to dance around talking about what makes Baba Is You so special. After that, Andrew Reiner talks about the developments happening at GDC, including Google’s game streaming service Stadia and some surprising Nindies. Then, Ben Reeves joins to talk about Kyle’s visit to the set of Detective Pikachu he took last year. Wow, this description is still going. After some great community emails, Matt Miller joins a roundtable discussion of what makes The Division 2 so special two weeks into its life, and what could still use some improvement.

You can watch the video above, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Playlisten on SoundCloudstream it on Spotify, or download the MP3 by clicking here. Also, be sure to send your questions to podcast@gameinformer.com for a chance to have them answered on the show.

Our thanks to the talented Super Marcato Bros. for The Game Informer Show’s intro song. You can hear more of their original tunes and awesome video game music podcast at their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below…

2:08 – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
24:55 – Baba Is You
31:34 – GDC/Google Stadia
55:17 – Nindies
1:04:55 – Detective Pikachu
1:26:38 – Community Emails
2:43:32 – The Division 2



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