Lookout Mobile Security warns smartphone users against free apps containing several advertisements that are potentially invading consumer privacy.
In a report made by Lookout Mobile Security, some ad providing networks, which insert advertising in free apps, access personal information from users through their mobile handsets with an indefinite justification to their purpose. More than 50 percent of the total free apps are fixed with network-provided advertisements and 5 percent or 80 million downloads of smartphone apps are inserted with “destructive” ad networks that execute “non-kosher” acts and alter mobile settings like modifying bookmarks and directly distributing ads beyond the app itself. Reports on “scareware” through battery upgrade alerts and pushing marketing icons onto a phone’s start screen or advertisements popping out in notification bars have also been noted.
Figures from a free app analysis made in Google Play revealed that these aggressive ad networks are primarily found in personal customization apps, constituting 17 percent from wallpaper apps, 8 percent from entertainment and 7 percent in games.
As a means to reduce the risk of malicious software, Lookout created its own free app that can detect which ad networks are running on a mobile handset and what they do, which is downloadable from Google Play.
A set of comprehensive guidelines outlining “best practices” to end the glitches of destructive ad networks has been circulated by the malware watcher for mobile advertisers to follow, with the aim of prevailing ad delivery behavior, transparency and clarity, data collection, individual control, and other issues.