Mobile adware is frustrating and persistent — as the app market stands, it is almost impossible to know whether or not the product you are downloading will be beneficial or compromise the security and functionality of your mobile device.
Free apps are appealing. No one wants to pay for an app that seems fun, but the penalty for such a convenience can cost mobile customers the privacy of their personal devices and, more importantly, their personal information.
As technology continues to focus on trending products that exceed the capabilities of a personal computer for a mobile market, customers need to be aware of the hazards of placing their most intimate personal data into their smart devices.
Lookout Labs, a mobile security company and developer of the Lookout mobile security apps, is one of the companies on the front lines of the battle between malicious adware and the mobile user.
According to Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder and CTO of Lookout, “More than 50 percent of apps are now powered by ads, and while many ads adhere to reasonable standards for mobile privacy, Lookout’s recent analysis found that more than 5 percent of apps in Google Play contain an ad network that uses aggressive advertising techniques.”
This means that half of the apps available on the Android market are sponsored by the ad companies they promote — clogging up user devices with unwanted content as a consequence for downloading the app. Ad networks like AirPush, Appenda, LeadBolt, Moolah Media, StartApp and others, are some of the leaders in in-app advertising, plastering smart devices with their clients advertisements as a form of marketing. Other more intrusive adware can do everything from adding icons to leaking personal data as a means of advertising targeting.
Lookout has made it a priority, as stated by Mahaffey, “to making the mobile experience safe for everyone.”
The Lookout app for both Android protects users from spyware, malware and a variety of other mobile threats including adware. Also, this free app lets Android users locate their phone via Google Maps if it is ever stolen or misplaced.
With the premium version of the app (priced at $2.99/month) users can remotely lock and wipe their phones. Stolen phones put mobile devices at risk for numerous attacks, specifically the accessing of personal data. With this feature, customers have the option to both lock and erase all of their personal files — keeping their data safe when it is needed most.
Lookout Premium also features Safe Browsing and Privacy Advisor. These features allow the user to be on the Web with the app protecting their devices from phishing and malware. With the Privacy Advisor, Lookout compiles a list of all of the apps downloaded that put the mobile device at risk. Privacy Advisor alerts mobile users of applications that can access their personal data and identity information.
One of Lookout Premium’s essential features is the option for customers to back up their devices. According to Mahaffey, both iOS and Android versions of the app offer back