Recently, sneaky developers have incorporated stealthy methods (example: AirPush) into android apps to display ads in android devices. Since last week I started receiving ads and spams through android push notification. I also started noticing android mobile ads in the homescreen as icon, which when clicked opens an ad in the browser. Mobile spams through android notification have become a common nuisance to many users. There are mobile security and mobile privacy apps available to make your device safer and cleaner. In this post, I will describe how I identified the app that was pushing notification bar ads and homescreen spam icons in my rooted Motorola Droid phone.
Click here to learn more about mobile security and privacy.
Below are some examples of the notification bar ads you might see on your android device:
Apps to Detect and Stop Notification Bar Ads
The easiest way to stop Notification Bar Ads is to use one of the many freely available Apps. The company that is responsible for the ads has put out an app to opt out of the ads. But there are other apps to scan and scan and find out if and how your apps display ads on your phone. Note that these apps don’t disable the ads or remove the apps. You will have to find out the problematic apps and remove them manually.
This is a simple Android application which detects other installed applications which appear to use known notification ad frameworks and offers the user the ability to easily uninstall them.
Currently detected frameworks include Airpush, LeadBolt, Appenda, and IAC.
Addons Detector detects addons used by your installed applications and has tools to find push notification ads. It’s a great way to see what advertising agencies other developers use, and what tools they have integrated. Or if you are looking for the app that uses AirPush or similar push notifications, you can easily find it and remove it.
It includes tools to find notification spam, like the notification monitor. Enable this and you can easily see which program has put that notification in your notification area. There is also a live scanner, which scans newly installed and updated apps for selected addon categories and displays a notification if they are found (premium feature).
It includes support for tons of ad networks: including AirPush Appenda, LeadBolt, Moolah Media, TapIt, Urban Airship, Xtify and several more.
TrustGo Ad Detector scans and protects your phone from potential privacy violations and identity leaks through ads displayed by apps via the most commonly used advertising networks. It is common for advertising networks to collect information on how you use your device. Your information is then used for targeted marketing campaigns.
Some common and aggressive methods include:
- Pushing ads to your Android notification bar
- Creating unauthorized shortcuts on your home screen
- Modifying the default browser, homepage and bookmarks settings
- Subscribing you to emails and text messages when an ad is clicked
- Making phone calls and downloading malicious files when an ad is clicked
In the next page, I talk about Lookout Ad Network Detector, my favorite app for the purpose, and how it helped me troubleshoot and remove notification bar ads.