The next time you install a free Google Android app, keep this statistic in mind: 6 percent of all free Android apps include some type of intrusive adware.
Mobile security firm Lookout says Android users are more likely to fall for “adware” then classic criminal-based malware.
According to Lookout, the number of adware installs far exceeds the likelihood of malware installs. Lookout says its figures show that adware installs are “higher than any other app-based threat.”
The company looked up 200,000 apps and found that 6.5% of all free software features intrusive technology. Adware is defined as any app that pushes ads on a user outside of the apps own interface. For example, adware might add new icons to a user’s device, typically on the often viewed homescreen.
The company says that users who install their Lookout software are already 0.9 percent likely to have adware installed on their smartphone. The company also suggests that one million Android device owners per year download adware.
Lookout software is now warning Android users if they install free or paid software that features what they believe to be adware. In the past Lookout was focused mostly on the malware side of the business.
Jeremy Linden, a security product manager at Lookout tells the MIT Technology Review:
“Our goal is eradicate the worst of the unscrupulous advertising practices out there … The small minority of ad networks that behave badly is making a lack of trust for the entire industry.”
Adware not only installs fake icons on a users device, it can also collect unnecessary personal data including email addresses, phone numbers, SMS messages and other phone based data.
Lookout has begun to reach out to ad networks to warn them when their networks become bad breeding grounds for adware based software. Ad networks that continue their deceptive practices stand to lose upwards of 40 million user installs.
Are you worried about adware installations on your smartphone or tablet based device?