Sneaky Mobile Ads Invade Android Phones PCWorld

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Are you pondering how that mysterious icon ended up on your Android phone’s start screen?Annoyed at the ads clogging your notification bar?You aren’t alone. Thousands of Android apps now come with program that shoves advertising icons onto your phone’s start screen or pushes ads into your notification bar and many of the apps come up with no warning in regards to the ad invasion. Many of those ads come from mobile advertising firms such as AirPush, Appenda, LeadBolt, Moolah Media, and StartApp. The businesses work with app developers hungry for some way to make money from their telephone application. By bundling their adware into widely wide-spread Android programs, these advertising and marketing businesses say they are now pushing ads to millions of new smartphones each week.

The mobile ads are called “push notification ads” and “icon ads. ” Push notification ads carry small alerts to an Android phone’s notification bar. When you swipe to pull down the notification bar from the end of your phone’s screen, a corresponding ad shows up under Notifications. Icon ads, as the name implies, are icons that are inserted onto an Android phone’s start screen. When you touch the icon, it launches a Web page usually a search engine or Web service.

This Push Ad next to the fairway star didn’t come with an opt out. As discussed above, I reviewed Android applications that include push notification and icon ad technology and located that very few come with any disclosure in regards to the adware before installation. Not only does the silence of app makers make it hard to circumvent this type of mobile advertisements, it makes it difficult to dispose of the adware once your phone is invaded, because you likely won’t know which app snuck it onto your handset. For example, anyone who has lately put in the extremely customary app called MP3 Music Download Pro also installed adware era from AirPush. But when I checked out the privacy and safety settings offered by Google’s Android Market for MP3 Music Download Pro, I saw no disclosure that the app contained the AirPush adware.

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Nor, once MP3 Music Download Pro is installed in your phone, is there any point out of the AirPush technology in Google’s Manage Application settings. When app maker Hyperkani introduced push notification ads to its Android app, Air Hockey Speed, earlier this year it did not reveal at that time that the app contained adware. “We were afraid that it may possibly affect the obtain counts negatively,” says Janne Honkala, with Hyperkani. After a flood of one star reviews in the Android Market, Hyperkani says, it got rid of push notification ads from all its Android apps. On the brilliant side, when I noticed My Daily Free Amazon App, a shopping program that accommodates StartApp icon ads, in the Android Market, I saw written notification that ads can be put on my start screen. The program’s description states: ” In order to keep the app 100% free, you will acquire the following: Search shortcut icon in your home screen; Search shortcut to your bookmarks; and Search Homepage.

” The app’s writer, Steve Imar, points out in the app’s description that shortcuts can be deleted with no impact on the application. In April, Martin Adamek, developer of the app APNdroid, claims his app was temporarily booted from the Android Market by Google after it added push notification ads to 100,000 handsets along with his program on it. Adamek says that days after adding push notification capability to his app, he got a flood of negative feedback from users, which he believes led to Google suspending him from the Android Market. “Google told me many users were reporting my app as malicious or malware like because of the ads,” he says. APNdriod did include disclosure of push ads, says Adamek.

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But he admits most of his users were triggered to update their existing APNdroid program already put in on their handsets via a notification from the Android Market mobile client. When users were told an update to APNdroid was available, it was not disclosed that push notification ad technology can be added. Both AirPush and Appenda offer clear ways to opt out of receiving ads via their websites. But it’s not apparent that consumers would know they should visit those sites to opt out. In the sampling of ads I reviewed, it was hard to tell who was sending the ads or which apps were guilty for the push notifications and icon ads. I used third party application to examine the ads’ origins.

On Appenda’s site, you submit your phone number to opt out of receiving push notification ads. AirPush also offers a Web based opt out form that calls for you to input your phone’s IMEI making a choice on number. AirPush doesn’t let you know how to get your phone’s IMEI number, however the WikiHow site has easy to follow steps for doing so. Airpush also offers an Android app called Airpush permanent Opt out so that you can set up to stop receiving ads.