Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

More Than 1M U.S. Android Users Downloaded Adware in the Past Year

You know what sucks? Apps that “display advertising outside of the normal app experience, harvest unusual personally identifiable information, or perform unexpected actions as a response to ad clicks” without user consent.

But adware, as mobile security company Lookout defines it, is widespread among Android apps, and it’s growing.

Approximately 6.5 percent of free apps on Google Play today contain adware, according to Lookout’s in-house research that sampled hundreds of thousands of available apps.

That’s up from five percent last year.

Plus, adware is much more prevalent in third-party app stores that aren’t controlled by Google.

More than one million U.S. Android users have downloaded adware, according to Lookout.

Around the world, Lookout estimates more than 600,000 French users downloaded adware, 400,000 in Germany and 200,000 in the U.K.

Just like last year, the worst culprits are personalization apps. Some 26 percent of free personalization apps — which help users do things like change their mobile wallpaper — contain adware.

Lookout doesn’t have comparable stats for iOS, though adware is less prevalent on the more tightly controlled platform.

Lookout — which of course wants people to use its products — will advise users to remove apps with adware from flagged ad networks such as LeadBolt, Moolah Media and RevMob.

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