Discovery of Ranking Fraud for Mobile Apps

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Ranking fraud in the mobile App market refers to fraudulent or deceptive activities which have a purpose of bumping up the Apps in the popularity list. Indeed, it becomes more and more frequent for App develops to use shady means, such as inflating their Apps’ sales or posting phony App ratings, to commit ranking fraud. While the importance of preventing ranking fraud has been widely recognized, there is limited understanding and research in this area. To this end, in this paper, we provide a holistic view of ranking fraud and propose a ranking fraud detection system for mobile Apps.
Specifically, we investigate two types of evidences, ranking based evidences and rating based evidences, by modeling Apps’ ranking and rating behaviors through statistical hypotheses tests. In addition, we propose an optimization based aggregation method to integrate all the evidences for fraud detection. Finally, we evaluate the proposed system with real-world App data collected from the Apple’s App Store for a long time period. In the experiments, we validate the effectiveness of the proposed system, and show the scalability of the detection algorithm as well as some regularity of ranking fraud activities.

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