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Android User Privacy Threatened By Virulent Adware

There is no doubt that in the global mobile industry, Android commands more than 50% of the share. Although the exact figure keeps varying on a daily basis, competitors like Windows and Apple have not been able to completely overthrow Android. However, the downside to Android is that the security of the OS is not as good as it is expected to be. For all practical purposes, Android is an open source software and there is no governing body to impose security measures (like Apple for iOS and Microsoft for Windows). Time and again, we have seen that there have been reports of Android being targeted by a specific type of malicious software. This time, it is an adware that is increasingly becoming very virulent and attacking Android users.

What Is Adware?

To understand what a virulent adware is, you must understand what exactly adware is. Adware is software that is used to gather information about the users. This information is sent to advertising agencies who are the people who planted the adware in the first place. Technically speaking, the process of collecting information only for the purpose of advertising and devising ad strategies is legitimate and the company behind such adware is well within legal realms to do so. This can be done even if you have opted to stop cookies/tracking online as adware makes use of a different technique to collect your online information.

The Line Separating Legal and Illegal Is Not Very Clear

We have no way of ensuring that adware is within its legal limitations while collecting data about you. The procedure is very simple. Adware displays an advertisement in the form of pop ups or text messages. When you click on the advertisement, you will be redirected to a browser that will open the link to the advertisers’ site. When you visit the site, your data will be logged into the advertisers’ server.

Agencies Violating the Privacy Limitations: ADWLEADBOLT and AIRPUSH

An online security agency called as Trend Micro, conducted a study that involved some of the major advertising networks. This study revealed that two networks, AIRPUSH and ADWLEADBOLT were pushing privacy restrictions and frequently crossing over the lines. But the bigger threat here is that hackers are aware of the fact that these adware companies have data that can potentially lead to security breaches of varying degrees of severity.

Big Profits in Data Gathering Driving Companies To Push Privacy Barriers

It is not that ad companies are not aware of the fact that data gathering is a risky business. Companies are very well aware of the risks but the profits involved in the business are huge. There is a lot of demand for data and more personalized the data is more will be the value of that data. Hackers are also aware of this fact. Instead of trying to target people individually, they target these ad groups and manage to gather more data with very limited effort on their part.

The Solution to This Problem?

You can easily make out which are the apps that are constructed with little thought to security and which are the apps that make security high priority. Secure apps do not have ad pop ups even if ads are incorporated in the apps. Also, redirect links are not present in apps designed with focus on security. This is because the redirected pages can be potentially dangerous even though they were not when the app was initially designed. Also, try to stick to apps from reputed developers. They tend to be free from malware and also have a stable security setup.

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