Lookout for Android helps tracking ads on free apps

Lookout Mobile Security has recently released an application called Ad Network Detector which is capable of detecting ad apps and informing the users about them
Pallab Jyotee Hazarika,

As the tablets and Smartphones have become very popular in the market, it also has proved to be as a new dimension for the advertisers to reach the consumers. Some of the advertisers are also adopting aggressive methods of ad delivery. But unfortunately till now no rules of acceptable mobile ad practices have been defined yet.

It has also been reported that one particular aggressive ad network had used to monetize several free Android apps. At first it was identified as a malware called Android.Counterclank, but hours later, the Lookout Mobile Security revealed that the SDK in question was really an aggressive ad network called Apperhand. It places a search icon on the mobile desktop without any permission of the user, which later pushes ads through the notice bar.

Recently Lookout has released a free application called the Ad Network Detector, which they have created to scan all the applications in a phone and inform the users about the ad networks installed. Apart from that it also tells the users how these networks display ads, what information they collect from your phone in the process and how the users can opt out if it is possible. Until now the application checks for SDKs from 35 of the biggest ad networks, which also includes Google, AdMob, InMobi and Milennial in the list.

According to Derek Halliday, Senior product manager for the Security of Lookout, for larger mainstream networks like AdMob and JumpTap, there is no possible opt-out path. The only way to get rid of such application is to get rid of the application.

Lookout for Android is made available for $2.99/mo while Lookout for iPhone is free. TrustGo Labs also offer Ad Detector for Android which also performs a similar function. 


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Pallab Jyotee Hazarika, 2012-03- 4 (Update: 2012-05-26)