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Malwarebytes updates its mobile app to protect Android users from rising ad threats

Aggressive ads on Android are exploiting people to make money
Thu Mar 06 2014, 13:33
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ANTI-MALWARE FIRM Malwarebytes has updated its free mobile security app to protect users from the rise of what it calls "Potentially Unwanted Programs" (PUPs) affecting Android users.

The update to the app protects users against a rising number of Android apps that cannot be strickly classified as malware.

According to Malwarebytes, PUPs are offered through legitimate channels and are "aggressive advertising and in-app purchases" that exploit people to make money, take unnecessary amounts of personal data and degrade smartphone performance.

"The research team at Malwarebytes has noticed an increasing number of Android PUPs and, as from today, the new version of Anti-Malware Mobile will give people an option to automatically detect and block these," the firm said.

Malwarebytes said its software uses criteria to break the threats down into two categories.

The first category is adware, which persistently presents ads and exploits the operating system or other software to force the device to display adverts in a questionable manner. In the second category are more generalised PUPs, Malwarebytes said. This broader category includes apps that ask for suspicious permissions beyond their advertised functions, impact device performance, use vulnerable code or solicit dubious in-app purchases,

"Aggressive advertising and sneaky pay-to-play schemes in particular are on the increase. In the beginning there were few offenders, but there are now a number of SDKs on the market which make it easy to create multiple variants, as well as bundle these together in a single app," said the security company's CEO, Marcin Kleczynski.

While adding PUP protection, the new version of Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Mobile app also enables scheduling of updates over WiFi, social sharing the app with friends, features French translation and allows users to send feedback and request new features.

It can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store or Amazon. µ


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